On August 7, at the age of 72, one of the world's leading swimming coaches, Gennady Turetsky, died. According to his pupil, four-time Olympic champion Alexander Popov, he was promptly taken to a hospital in Switzerland, where he had lived recently. Doctors diagnosed a massive stroke and were forced to put him into a state of artificial coma, but they failed to save the specialist, Popov said in a commentary on RT.

Departure to Australia and triumphant work with Popov

In the last years of his life, Turetsky wrote a book and was going to return to active coaching work. He planned to prepare Russian swimmer Andrei Grechin for the fourth Olympic Games for him.

In addition to the most stellar pupil, four-time Olympic champion and the most famous sprinter in the world Alexander Popov, among the students of Turetsky are the Olympic gold medalists Michael Klim, Petriya Thomas, Vladimir Pyshnenko, Yuri Mukhin, Veniamin Tayanovich.

In the gold relay 4 x 100 meters freestyle at the 2000 Olympic Games, which was won by Australia, four of his swimmers took part at once: Klim and Ashley Callas started in the final, and Todd Pearson and Edam Pine in the morning swim.

It was Turetsky who was approached in 2011 by the five-time Olympic champion and 11-time world champion Ian Thorpe, who intended to return to swimming. He did not return, but that was not the main thing: an equally outstanding athlete followed the philosophy of sports to the outstanding Russian coach: Turetsky surprisingly knew how to convey any idea to the students and for this he did not have to raise his voice at all.

At one time, a domestic specialist did not leave a good life for Australia: while Turetsky and Popov were performing in 1992 at the Olympic Games in Barcelona, ​​the coach's new St. Petersburg apartment, where he never had time to visit, having received a warrant, refugees settled in squatting ... The law enforcement agencies very quickly made it clear that no one was interested in problems of this kind.

Shortly before that, Gennady's parents had passed away, so he decided that nothing more kept him in his native St. Petersburg - he signed a contract with the Australian Institute of Sports. And it was a great happiness that Popov left after him, and the world received a great tandem of a coach and an athlete for more than ten years.

People like Gennady Turetsky are often called crazy in sports. In 2004, when the 33-year-old Popov ended his sports career, Turetsky was asked in an interview if he would like to return from Switzerland (where he moved from Australia after the Games in Sydney) to Russia and lead the country's national team.

“If the team were set a goal to win seven or eight gold medals at the next Olympic Games, I would take on this work and I am sure that I could find like-minded coaches and implement my plans. The trouble is that the current sports leadership will be absolutely happy if Russian swimmers bring one or two gold medals from the Olympics. And I'm not interested in this. Only Popov won more against me, ”the specialist answered. 

The pursuit of world records and the invention of speed jumpsuits

Few people know, but high-speed super-overalls, thanks to which the same Thorpe won in swimming, is also Turetsky's idea. The development of the trainer was adopted by Speedo, and he invented it for his Australian student Michael Klim.

The athlete was distinguished by an extremely non-standard physique for a swimmer, and the coach tried to make the student's body more rigid in the water. Klim set two world records in just such a jumpsuit.

After another ward of Turetsky, Petria Thomas, who performed at three Olympics and won the last of them, said that if it were not for the suit, she would never have been able to win. She had problems with her shoulder joints, and the suit served as additional muscle support.

Once I faked a coach, saying that Popov lost the Sydney Olympics only because his rivals were swimming in overalls, not swimming trunks.

“The worst thing in sports is addiction. From a pill, from a suit, from weather conditions ... A real athlete should be able to concentrate on himself. And believe in yourself, ”Turetsky replied quite seriously.

Interestingly, two years before OI-2000, Turetsky began to accustom Popov to the idea that for the next Olympic victory in his crown 100-meter freestyle, he must reach a result of 47.71 seconds. The coach even changed the phone number so that it ends with exactly these numbers, and the student sees them every time the specialist calls. The world record up to those Games was 48.21, and was set by Popov himself in 1994.

“From my point of view, the record should have been 47.5 for a long time. Popov and I should have reached this result back in 1996, if not for injuries and operations. It is very important to do this now, and ideally in the semifinals. Then in the final all the rivals will fall under Sasha themselves. If we do not do this, then others will do it. Although I would not want to, ”Turetsky himself explained in Sydney.

Then, after losing the Olympics, Popov will say that his greatest blunder was that he did not believe the coach. I didn’t think that he would really need such fast seconds. Turkish, however, looked into the water: the record fell already in the preliminary swim under the onslaught of Klim, and in the semifinals, the representative of the Netherlands Peter van den Hohenband realized the forecast of the Russian coach, having swum a hundred meters in 47.84 seconds. And it was a knockout. For Popov as well.

Turetsky, at his rather respectable age for a coach, was distinguished by a completely irrepressible love of life and interest in everything new. So, he spent one of his vacations in the Vancouver Aquarium, observing marine mammals. When asked why he needed it, he answered:

“Marine animals have an absolutely fantastic sense of balance. A cat, for example, will not keep the ball on its nose. A fur seal is easy. Most swimmers have little sense of balance in the water. And the outstanding ones, on the contrary, are very good. At one time, I talked a lot with the world's largest specialist in animal biomechanics, Alexander McNeil. Scientists have long deduced a law according to which a person can swim in a second a distance equal to the length of his body. Not more. Therefore, Popov must swim 100 meters in 50 seconds. And his world record is 48.21. I believe that this result can also be improved - due to the start, turn, more economical movements in the water. We constantly think together about how to swim even faster. So I turn to the primary source - the nature of mammals. "

At the 2002 World Championships, where Argentinian Jose Meolans won the shortest sprint distance freestyle, Turetsky mentioned that he was not at all surprised. Like, he saw his coach dancing.

“Once in America we found ourselves in the same company at a disco. I looked at him - I could not take my eyes off. The man did not do anything special, did not twist his hands, did not jerk his head. But the impression of this lack of unnecessary movements left a fantastic one. It was the turn to dance with him. Probably, there is a pattern in the fact that the student of this specialist swims so rhythmically, ”explained Turetsky.

"The legend is gone, and there is no exaggeration in this"

In 2003, we met with Turetsky at the World Championships in Barcelona, ​​and over a cup of coffee the coach suddenly began to tell me about a phenomenon called soliton, which in Greek means "lonely wave". He said all this in his unsurpassed manner, when it is absolutely impossible to understand how serious the interlocutor is. Frankly, I then thought for a long time whether to send the text decoded from the tape recorder to the editorial office, it was too striking for the non-standard theme.

“... Many, many years ago, in 1827, it seems, one American cowboy, or maybe a farmer, rode a horse along the river,” Turetsky told me. - And, having reached the lock, I saw a barge hit against its wall. A wave came from the impact on the water. The cowboy continued to gallop along the shore and after a while noticed that the wave did not disappear. Moreover, it is not getting smaller. And he continues to walk on the water at the same speed with which he moves. What happened next, I don't really remember. In my opinion, the American was so interested in what he saw that he wrote about it in the newspaper. And for more than a hundred years, physicists around the world have been trying to thoroughly study this phenomenon. Terribly interesting! One of the manifestations of a soliton is a tsunami. The wave, which is not clear how and where it is born, is gaining tremendous strength and is able to travel great distances. I myself, while living in Australia, constantly communicated with one of the largest experts in this field. And I learned a lot of interesting things. Thanks to this, Popov and I came up with a new launch model. "

32-year-old Popov and his coach left Barcelona with three gold medals.

“I am always looking for a kind of“ upper ”starting point when I take on some kind of work. I define for myself what I want to achieve, and only then I develop ways to achieve this task. And I always say to all my athletes: “The main thing is how you feel about what you are doing. And it doesn't matter what others think about it, ”the coach liked to say about his profession.

In mid-April, Gennady Gennadievich was asked to take part in a series of video interviews that the world champion and Olympic vice-champion in Atlanta Denis Pimankov and Turetsky's coaching colleague Mikhail Zubkov came up with to organize for the swimming audience. The two-hour conversation so captivated the audience that after the first conversation two more followed. Turetsky knew how to talk about swimming and about sports in general for hours. And it was a great privilege to listen to him.

“The legend is gone, and this is no exaggeration: when Gennady Gennadievich appeared on the side of the pool, coaches and athletes changed before our eyes - by his very presence he inspired them with tremendous confidence. I myself saw how people grabbed every word of Turetsky when he came to the training camp of the national team at Lake Krugloye. It was the greatest specialist, lump. Our sports world rests on such people, "- the honorary president of the Russian Swimming Federation Gennady Alyoshin said very accurately about the coach after the news of his death.

What is there to add? It really is. It's just that this world is now orphaned. And there are no words to mitigate the loss.