Gennadi Touretski – „Everyone has a piece of Michael Phelps in his heart”

Everyone needs individual programs


When Gennadi Touretski speaks about swimming, he spreads emotions. He waves his arms, his voice is full of passion and his words are telling a lot about his experiences. In the last 40 years the swimming coach from Russia trained several international champions. In the 90s, he changed the way of swimming together with Alexander Popov. In Australia, he coached Ian Thorpe and Michael Kim. In the last weeks, I trained some master swimmers from Russia at Tenerife Top Training. He thinks a lot about the sport and about its effect on humans. “Swimming attracts people because of the feeling and staying in a different environment. In the water you’re weightless. You don’t need to swim with an effort. You can enjoy the movement and stay in the water”, says Touretski. With this idea the coach, who lives in Switzerland currently, thinks about the current and past champions in this sport. “Champions are fist off all humans, who loves to be in the water. For this reason everyone has a piece of Michael Phelps in his heart.”

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In the past, Gennadi Touretski coached several medalists at Olympics and World Championships. During this time he thought about the individual circumstances and conditions of the swimmers. “Ian Thorpe was a fish, a big fish. He had an incredible feeling in the water. On the other side was Michael Klim. Michael was more athletic. He could break walls”, says Touretski about the two Australians. And now, what does Michael Phelps make to the most successful swimmer in the last years? “I have watching Michael Phelps for 18 years and the key factor for his success is: He competes on any time, at any place and under any circumstances. He is the man of the future”, explains Touretski. For him the attitude towards swimming is one of the most important facts of high performance sport. On the other side are the individual circumstances and conditions. He is sure, that concepts from Australia won’t fit in Europe. Everyone needs individual programs.

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In addition he points out the responsibility of current decisions for the future. For this reason he questions the fundamental acts of rapid movement in some swimming federations after the Olympics. “The Olympic Games are the industry of broken dreams. Only 20 percent of swimmers can improve their personal best. The others are disappointed. We need to understand this. We must be honest”, says Touretski. He thinks that coaches, officials and spectators should understand the effect of the current to the future. “The important things are motion and motivate the new generation to do swimming. If this happens, we’ll have a future. Where do we want to be in five years? At the top? Now, we are responsible for this”, says the former coach of the Swiss national team.

Touretski himself will do some new stuff in the future. After 40 years, he’ll quit his job next to the pool for three months. “I’ll enjoy sleeping longer”, says the coach with a smile on his face.

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