After taking over the Auburn program in April, Ryan Wochomurka has quickly begun rebuilding his coaching staff. After hiring Abbie Houck as an assistant coach last week, the Auburn program has now brought in Vlad Polyakov to serve as the team’s associate head coach.
Polyakov will join the Auburn program after having spent the last eight years at Louisville, where he has served as an assistant coach and the men’s recruiting coordinator since 2012.
In joining the staff at Auburn, Polyakov will be coaching alongside Wochomurka for the second time in his career, as Wochomurka served as the Louisville associate head coach when he was first hired in 2012. Houck also spent time with the pair at Louisville, having swum there from 2013 to 2017.
At Louisville, Polyakov primarily worked with the men’s team, something that Wochomurka and Houck weren’t responsible for at Houston, which only sponsors a women’s team.
During his tenure with Louisville, Polyakov played a role in helping the Cardinal men win their first ACC Championship title in 2021. In 2019, Louisville became the first ACC program to finish in the top-5 for both men and women at the NCAA Championships, with the women taking a program-record fourth and the men finishing in fifth. All but one of the Louisville men’s records have been set since Polyakov joined the program.
Prior to his joining the Louisville program, Polyakov had a very successful career in the pool. Swimming for Alabama, he racked up five SEC titles, two NCAA titles, and two US National Championship titles. At Alabama, his times in the 100 and 200 breaststroke still rank within the school’s all-time top-10, with his 200 being the second-fastest time in school history.
Internationally, Polyakov swam for Kazakhstan and represented the country at the 2004, 2008, and 2012 Olympic Games. In 2004 he was a finalist in both breaststroke events at the Olympic Games in Athens, while in 2006 he won the 200 breast at the World Championships.
While the Auburn staff will enter the 2021-2022 season with three new coaches, one member of last season’s staff will remain with the team. Assistant coach Gideon Louw, who joined his alma mater as a coach in 2018, will be retained on Wochomurka’s staff. Louw also has experience as an associate head coach, having spent two years in that role at Minnesota prior to coaching the Tigers.