Vladislav Polyakov

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Vladislav Polyakov
Personal information
Full name Vladislav Vitalyevich Polyakov
Nickname(s) Vlad
Nationality  Kazakhstan
Born (1983-11-30) 30 November 1983 (age 30)
Petropavl, Kazakh SSR
Height 1.91 m (6 ft 3 in)
Weight 78 kg (172 lb)
Sport
Sport Swimming
Stroke(s) Breaststroke
Club Coral Springs Swim Club
(USA)[1]
College team Alabama Crimson Tide (USA)[1]
Coach Michael Lohberg (USA)[1]

Vladislav Vitalyevich Polyakov (also Vlad Polyakov, Kazakh: Владислав Витальевич Поляков; born November 30, 1983 in Petropavl) is a Kazakhstani swimmer, who specialized in breaststroke events.[1][2] He swam for his native Kazakhstan at three Olympic Games (2004, 2008, and 2012), and eventually finished fifth in both 100 and 200 m breaststroke at his official Olympic debut in Athens. In total, he has won eight medals in major international tournaments, including his first career gold from the 2006 FINA World Short Course Championships in Shanghai, China. While residing in the United States, Polyakov is a five-time SEC champion, a double NCAA titleholder, and a two-time gold medalist at the national championships. He also earned a total of twelve All-American titles while playing for the Alabama Crimson Tide from 2003 to 2007.

Early life[edit]

Polyakov was born in Petropavl, Kazakh SSR, the son of Vitaliy Polyakov and Galina Polyakova. During his early childhood, his family moved to Moscow, Russia, where he started swimming at the CSKA Red Army Club, one of Russia's top sports clubs. He was put in a national program for elite swimmers, and was forced to undergo a rigorous training that left him fatigued and mentally ill.[3] In June 1999, Polyakov came to the United States under the guidance of his mother Galina, fully concerning about her son's lifetime goals. Polyakov almost gave up his sporting career before he decided to leave Eastern Europe: "At the time I left Russia I was sick mentally, I didn't want to go through another hard practice. I was so dead I was thinking about quitting swimming."[3]

While visiting in his first trip to the United States, Polyakov met Michael Goldenberg, a former Russian water polo player working as a top-ranked official and coach. He resided in Florida with Goldenberg and family, who later became his legal guardians. He attended Saint Thomas Aquinas High School in Fort Lauderdale, graduating in 2002, and swam for the Coral Springs Swim Club under four-time Olympic coach Michael Lohberg.[3][4]

College career[edit]

In 2003, Polyakov accepted an athletic scholarship at the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, where he played for the Alabama Crimson Tide swimming and diving team under head coach Arthur Albeiro.[5][6] While swimming for the Crimson Tide, Polyakov was a two-time NCAA champion, a five-time SEC champion, a double U.S. Open champion, and a twelve-time All-American titleholder.[6][7][8] At the 2007 NCAA Men's Swimming and Diving Championships, during his senior year, Polyakov claimed the 200 m breaststroke title in 1:52.71, the third fastest of all-time in NCAA history, just missing out a 0.09-second record set by Brendan Hansen in 2003.[9][10] Gathering a laundry list of accomplishments as a college swimmer, Polyakov was later inducted to the Alabama Swimming and Diving Hall of Fame.[11]

Polyakov also accumulated numerous honors as a student during his four-year stay at the University. He was a school's dean lister from 2002 to 2007, and was named Academic All-SEC four times.[5] In his senior season, Polyakov was among the top swimmers to be selected by the College Sports Information Directors of America, in honor of the Men's ESPN The Magazine Academic At-Large All-Americans of the Year.[12][13] In late spring of 2007, Polyakov graduated from the University of Alabama with a bachelor's degree in marketing major in international business.[14]

International career[edit]

2004 Summer Olympics[edit]

Polyakov swam for his native country Kazakhstan in his official Olympic debut. He posted FINA A-standard entry times of 1:01.98 (100 m breaststroke) and 2:14.36 (200 m breaststroke) from the U.S. National Championships in Orlando, Florida.[15][16] At the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens, Polyakov made a historic milestone as the first swimmer from Kazakhstan to reach an Olympic final since the nation's independent debut in 1996. Even though he was not a top medal favorite, Polyakov powered home with a fifth-place finish each in the 100 m breaststroke (1:01.34),[17][18] and in the 200 m breaststroke (2:11.76).[19][20]

Later that year, Polyakov won two bronze medals at the 2004 FINA Short Course World Championships in Indianapolis, Indiana. In the 100 m breaststroke, he cleared a one-minute barrier to strike his first ever career medal, posting a short-course lifetime best of 59.07.[21] In the 200 m breaststroke, Polyakov almost missed the podium by two-hundredths of a second in 2:08.36 until he added a second bronze to his hardware, when Australia's Jim Piper was disqualified for moving before the start.[22]

2005–2007[edit]

At the 2005 FINA World Championships in Montreal, Canada, Polyakov finished eighth in the 200 m breaststroke with a time of 2:12.72.[23] He also competed in the 100 m breaststroke, but finished his semifinal run with a second-slowest time of 1:01.70.[24]

Two weeks later, at the 2005 Summer Universiade in Izmir, Turkey, Polyakov earned a silver medal in the 200 m breaststroke at 2:12.69, just 0.34 seconds off a leading time set by Poland's Sławomir Kuczko.[25]

At the 2006 FINA Short Course World Championships in Shanghai, held just two weeks after the NCAA Championships, Polyakov captured his first major international title in the 200 m breaststroke. He touched the wall first in 2:06.95, holding off Australia's top favorite Brenton Rickard by more than half a second.[26] His gold medal also marked a first milestone for Kazakhstan in world swimming history.[27]

Following a first major triumph, Polyakov clearly became one of Asia's top medal favorites at the peak of his sporting career. When he made his official debut at the 2006 Asian Games in Doha later that year, Polyakov competed in three individual events, including the 50 m breaststroke. In his first final, he edged out Asian record holder and Japan's top medal contender Kosuke Kitajima to secure a first gold medal for Kazakhstan at these Games, breaking a new record of 28.29.[28][29] Polyakov also added two more bronze medals to his hardware from these Games, finishing third each in the 100 m breaststroke (1:01.63), and in the 200 m breaststroke (2:13.60).[30] For his final event, 4×100 m medley relay, Polyakov helped out his Kazakh teammates Stanislav Ossinskiy, Stanislav Kuzmin, and Vitaliy Khan to earn a fourth spot in a final time of 3:42.16.[31]

In early 2007, Polyakov decided to skip from the World Championships to focus on his senior season for the Alabama Crimson Tide, handing his teammate Yevgeniy Ryzhkov a similar disciplinary slot. On that same year, he won a bronze medal in the 200 m breaststroke at the 2007 Summer Universiade in Bangkok, outside his personal best of 2:13.53.[32]

2008 Summer Olympics[edit]

At the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing, Polyakov competed in two individual events with only four days in between. He achieved FINA A-standards of 1:01.43 (100 m breaststroke) and 2:12.29 (200 m breaststroke) from Japan International Swim Meet in Chiba.[33][34] On the first day of the Games, Polyakov missed out the semifinals in the 100 m breaststroke by nine-hundredths of a second, finishing with a time of 1:00.80.[35] Four days later, in the 200 m breaststroke, Polyakov posted a qualifying time of 2:10.83 to earn an eleventh spot for the top 16 places in the prelims.[36] Followed by the morning session, Polyakov could not match his best results from Athens four years earlier, as he placed fifteenth in the semifinals at 2:11.87.[37]

2009–2011[edit]

At the 2009 FINA World Championships in Rome, Italy, Polyakov failed to reach the top 16 in any of his individual events, finishing twentieth in the 50 m breaststroke (27.57),[38] twenty-ninth in the 100 m breaststroke (1:00.83),[39] and eighteenth in the 200 m breaststroke (2:11.09).[40]

Polyakov swam again in three individual events, when he qualified for the second time at the 2010 Asian Games in Guangzhou, China. In his first event, 50 m breaststroke, Polyakov shared a three-way tie with Iran's Mohammad Alirezaei and Japan's top medal contender Kosuke Kitajima for fourth place in 28.15.[41] In the 100 m breaststroke, Polyakov rebounded from an early loss, and claimed a silver medal in 1:01.03, the second-fastest time in a textile suit.[42] Polyakov also captured a bronze as a member of the Kazakhstan team in the 4×100 m medley relay (3:40.55), following China's disqualification for an early takeoff on the breaststroke leg.[43]

One month later, at the 2010 FINA Short Course World Championships in Dubai, Polyakov finished seventh in the 100 m breaststroke with a time of 58.66, failing to reach the podium for the first time in his short-course swimming career.[44]

At the 2011 FINA World Championships in Shanghai, China, Polyakov competed again in three individual events as a lone male swimmer for Kazakhstan. Out of his available tries, he reached the semifinals in the 50 m breaststroke, finishing fourteenth with a lifetime best of 27.81.[45]

2012 Summer Olympics[edit]

At the 2012 Summer Olympics in London, Polyakov competed only in the 100 m breaststroke, because of a prior change in FINA's qualifying standard format.[46] Unlike his two previous Games, he posted an Olympic selection time (formerly a B-cut) of 1:01.48 from the USA Swimming Grand Prix in Indianapolis, Indiana.[47][48] Swimming in heat two, he picked up a third spot in 1:02.15, almost seven-tenths of a second (0.70) outside his entry time. Polyakov failed to advance into the semifinals, as he placed thirty-fourth overall on the first day of prelims.[49][50]

Life after swimming[edit]

Polyakov ended his swimming legacy with a total of eight medals in international tournaments, and twelve All-American titles in his college career. In September 2012, he joined the University of Louisville swimming and diving staff as an assistant coach for the Louisville Cardinals.[5][11]

Personal bests[edit]

Long course
Event Time Meet
50 m breaststroke 27.40 6th Asian Age Group Championship
100 m breaststroke 1:00.65 2009 Summer Universiade
200 m breaststroke 2:10.53 6th Asian Age Group Championship
Short course
Event Time Meet
50 m breaststroke 26.80 2010 FINA Short Course World Championships
100 m breaststroke 57.80 2010 FINA Short Course World Championships
200 m breaststroke 2:06.78 2010 FINA Short Course World Championships

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d "Vladislav Polyakov". London 2012. Retrieved 21 May 2013. 
  2. ^ "Vladislav Polyakov". Sports-Reference.com. Sports Reference LLC. Retrieved 21 May 2013. 
  3. ^ a b c Robb, Sharon (10 October 2000). "Where Dreams Come True". Sun-Sentinel. Retrieved 21 May 2013. 
  4. ^ Trott, Ginny (12 February 2003). "Catching Up With Freshman Swimmer Vlad Polyakov". Alabama Crimson Tide. Retrieved 21 May 2013. 
  5. ^ a b c "Vlad Polyakov, Three-Time Olympian, Joins Swim Coaching Staff". Rolltide Athletics. 20 September 2012. Retrieved 21 May 2013. 
  6. ^ a b "Swimming Duo Earn Academic All-America Honors". Alabama Crimson Tide. 13 July 2006. Retrieved 21 May 2013. 
  7. ^ "Alabama's Vlad Polyakov Wins U.S. Open Title". Alabama Crimson Tide. 13 July 2006. Retrieved 21 May 2013. 
  8. ^ Robb, Sharon (2 December 2005). "St. Thomas Graduate Gets Win At U.s. Open". Sun-Sentinel. Retrieved 21 May 2013. 
  9. ^ Marsteller, Jason (17 March 2007). "Alabama's Vlad Polyakov Takes 200 Breast Title". Swimming World Magazine. Retrieved 20 May 2013. 
  10. ^ Robb, Sharon (19 March 2007). "Springs rallies to take title". Sun-Sentinel. Retrieved 21 May 2013. 
  11. ^ a b Hill, Sammie (2 October 2012). "Three-time Olympian joins swimming and diving staff". The Louisville Cardinal. Retrieved 21 May 2013. 
  12. ^ "Gaul, Wildman-Tobriner lead Academic All-America teams". ESPN. 21 June 2007. Retrieved 21 May 2013. 
  13. ^ "Stanford's Ben Wildman-Tobriner, Missouri-Rolla's Bill Gaul Named Men's ESPN The Magazine Academic At-Large All-Americans of the Year". Swimming World Magazine. 12 June 2007. Retrieved 20 May 2013. 
  14. ^ "Top of the World (Vlad Polyakov – 2006 World Champion)" (PDF). Alabama Swimming & Diving. CBS College Sports. p. 11. Retrieved 21 May 2013. 
  15. ^ Robb, Sharon (14 February 2004). "St. Thomas Grad Polyakov Sweeps Breaststroke Titles". Sun-Sentinel. Retrieved 21 May 2013. 
  16. ^ Whitten, Phillip (13 February 2004). "Phelps, Bal Triumph at Nationals". Swimming World Magazine. Retrieved 21 May 2013. 
  17. ^ "Men's 100m Breaststroke Final". Athens 2004. BBC Sport. 14 August 2004. Retrieved 31 January 2013. 
  18. ^ Whitten, Phillip (15 August 2004). "Kitajima Keeps His Promise, Upsetting Brendan Hansen to Win the Men's 100 meter Breaststroke". Swimming World Magazine. Retrieved 10 May 2013. 
  19. ^ "Men's 200m Breaststroke Final". Athens 2004. BBC Sport. 15 August 2004. Retrieved 11 April 2013. 
  20. ^ Thomas, Stephen (18 August 2004). "Kitajima Takes the Breaststroke Double, Wins the 200 in an Olympic Record 2:09.44". Swimming World Magazine. Retrieved 10 May 2013. 
  21. ^ "Short Course World Champs, Day 2 Finals: Hansen Triumphs in 100 Breast". Swimming World Magazine. 18 August 2004. Retrieved 10 May 2013. 
  22. ^ "Short Course World Champs, Day Three Finals: Hansen Is Untouchable in the 200 Breast". Swimming World Magazine. 9 October 2004. Retrieved 10 May 2013. 
  23. ^ Lohn, John (29 July 2005). "World Champs, Day 6 Evening Session: Hansen Overwhelms Field to Capture Gold Medal in Men's 200 Breaststroke". Swimming World Magazine. Retrieved 21 May 2013. 
  24. ^ "2005 FINA World Championships (Montreal, Canada) – Men's 100m Breaststroke Semifinals" (PDF). Omega Timing. Retrieved 11 February 2013. 
  25. ^ Robb, Sharon (13 August 2005). "Bronze Makes It Three For Tarantino". Sun-Sentinel. Retrieved 21 May 2013. 
  26. ^ "Lochte, Aussie Women Light Up World Short Course Champs with Global Standards". Swimming World Magazine. 7 April 2006. Retrieved 21 May 2013. 
  27. ^ "Tide swimmer captures world title in breaststroke". Tide Sports. 8 April 2006. Retrieved 21 May 2013. 
  28. ^ Marsteller, Jason (3 December 2006). "Park Sizzles at Asian Games With Asian Record in 200 Free". Swimming World Magazine. Retrieved 21 May 2013. 
  29. ^ "Polyakov Wins Gold at the 2006 Asian Games". Alabama Crimson Tide. 5 December 2006. Retrieved 21 May 2013. 
  30. ^ Marsteller, Jason (4 December 2006). "China Women, Japan Men Dominate Third Day of Asian Games". Swimming World Magazine. Retrieved 21 May 2013. 
  31. ^ Marsteller, Jason (7 December 2006). "Park Snares Second Asian Record, Japan Wins Medal Count as Asian Games Come to a Close". Swimming World Magazine. Retrieved 21 May 2013. 
  32. ^ "World University Games: First Night of Action at the World University Games Presents World-Class Performances". Swimming World Magazine. 9 August 2007. Retrieved 21 May 2013. 
  33. ^ "Olympic Cut Sheet – Men's 100m Breaststroke" (PDF). Swimming World Magazine. p. 27. Retrieved 9 April 2013. 
  34. ^ "Japan International Swim Meet: Day Three Continues Strong Swimming With Stellar Times; Kirsty Coventry Takes Run at Krisztina Egerszegi's 200 Back WR". Swimming World Magazine. 23 August 2007. Retrieved 21 May 2013. 
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  36. ^ Lohn, John (12 August 2008). "Olympics, Swimming: Olympic Record Tumbles Twice, Daniel Gyurta Paces Qualifying in 200 Breast". Swimming World Magazine. Retrieved 17 May 2013. 
  37. ^ "Men's 200m Breaststroke Semifinal 2". Beijing 2008. NBC Olympics. Retrieved 18 January 2013. 
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  39. ^ "2009 FINA World Championships (Rome, Italy) – Men's 100m Breaststroke Heats" (PDF). Omega Timing. Retrieved 11 February 2013. 
  40. ^ "2009 FINA World Championships (Rome, Italy) – Men's 200m Breaststroke Heats" (PDF). Omega Timing. Retrieved 11 February 2013. 
  41. ^ Davis, Craig (30 November 2006). "Coral Springs' Polyakov wins silver medal at Asian Games". Sun-Sentinel. Retrieved 21 May 2013. 
  42. ^ "Asian Games: China Dominates Third Day". Swimming World Magazine. 15 November 2010. Retrieved 21 May 2013. 
  43. ^ "Sun clinches 1,500m, China disqualified in relay". The Hindu. 19 November 2010. Retrieved 21 May 2013. 
  44. ^ "FINA Short Course World Championships: Cameron van der Burgh Dominates 100 Breast Final". Swimming World Magazine. 19 December 2010. Retrieved 21 May 2013. 
  45. ^ "2011 FINA World Championships (Shanghai, China) – Men's 50m Breaststroke Heats" (PDF). Omega Timing. Retrieved 11 February 2013. 
  46. ^ "Swimming Contingent Ready for London Olympics". Alabama Crimson Tide. 28 July 2012. Retrieved 21 May 2013. 
  47. ^ "USA Swimming Grand Prix, Indianapolis: Michael Phelps Blazes World-Best Time in 200 IM". Swimming World Magazine. 31 March 2012. Retrieved 21 May 2013. 
  48. ^ "Qualifying Athletes – Men's 100 m breaststroke". FINA. Retrieved 20 April 2013. 
  49. ^ "Men's 100m Breaststroke Heat 2". London 2012. Retrieved 11 February 2013. 
  50. ^ Kausler, Don (28 July 2012). "Former Tide swimmer Vlad Polyakov fails to advance at Olympics". Alabama Local News. Retrieved 21 May 2013. 

External links[edit]