By Sharon Robb
AUBURN, Ala., May 11, 2021–Three-time Olympian and former world champion Vlad Polyakov was hired as associate head swimming coach at Auburn University.
Polyakov, a St. Thomas Aquinas and Alabama alum, will join head coach Ryan Wochomurka’s staff this fall. He spent nine years at Louisville as an assistant coach and men’s recruiting coordinator.
Polyakov will coach with Wochomurka for the second time in his career. Wochomurka was associate head coach at Louisville when he was hired in 2012.
Polyakov, 37, grew up in South Florida competing at St. Thomas Aquinas where he was a state breaststroke champion and in the Florida Gold Coast for Coral Springs Swim Club, where he was mentored by six-time Olympic coach Michael Lohberg. He is married to another former FGC swimmer, Mhyria Miller, who competed for Florida Keys Swim Club and is a former All-American at Georgia. They have two sons.
“I am very excited to welcome Vlad, Mhyria, Liam and Maksim to the Auburn family,” Wochomurka said. “Vlad brings an unequalled positive energy to the pool deck and is one the most genuinely well-liked and respected individuals in the industry.
“He is one of the brightest and most innovative technical coaches I have ever had the pleasure to work with. He also brings a tenacious and studious approach to recruiting and is one of the very best at identifying talent domestically and internationally. Vlad’s experience as an elite level athlete on the SEC, NCAA, and international stage allows him a unique opportunity to guide our student-athletes in their own elite level pursuits.”
In Polyakov’s nine seasons at Louisville, the Cardinals earned eight top-10 team finishes at the NCAA Championships, five women and three men. The Cardinals had 12 individual titles and one relay title at the NCAA Championships in his tenure, and three swimmers combined for six selections as ACC Swimmer of the Year. The 2020-21 season saw Louisville’s men match their program-best finish with a fifth-place showing at NCAAs and won the ACC Championship for the first time.
“My family and I are very excited to become part of the Auburn family,” Polyakov said. “Auburn swimming and diving was an undisputed standard of excellence during my college years. Auburn athletes that I raced against were tough and fierce competitors, and Auburn coaches of that era are still considered some of the greatest coaches in the world of swimming today.
“Auburn’s legacy is undeniable. I am honored to have the opportunity to be associated with one of the richest traditions in swimming and diving history. I share Ryan’s vision for the program and look forward to empowering our Auburn athletes to perform at the highest level of their ability both academically and athletically.”
Polyakov has extensive international experience and a long list of accomplishments in college and pro swimming. The 2007 Alabama alum and Hall of Famer was a five-time SEC Champion, two-time NCAA Champion and two-time US National Champion. He competed professionally for five years.
Polyakov was named Academic All-SEC four times and was also a four-time Coaches Association Academic All-American. In 2005, 2006, and 2007 he was named to the ESPN Academic All-American At-Large Team. He was given an Individual Academic All-American Award by the CSCAA in 2005. Polyakov was given the “Most Valuable” Award for Most Dedicated Student-Athlete of the Year in 2005 and 2006. During the 2006 season Polyakov was named the SEC Swimming and Diving Scholar-Athlete of the Year and also received the Coaches Award from the Crimson Tide team.
He was a three-time Olympian having swam in the 2004 Olympic games in Athens, the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, and 2012 Olympics in London for his native Kazakhstan. In 2004, he was a finalist in the 100-meter breaststroke and 200-meter breaststroke. In other international competition, Polyakov was a 2004 FINA World Championship bronze medalist in the 100- and 200-meter breaststrokes and in 2006 was a FINA World Championship gold medalist in the 200-meter breaststroke.
Sharon Robb can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org