Vladislav Polyakov, a former three-time Olympian, World Champion and NCAA Champion, is in his second year as a member of the University of Louisville swimming and diving staff.
"Vlad fits everything we were looking for in a new coach for our program. He brings tremendous energy to our program," said Albiero. "His experiences as world-class athlete will add to our already experienced coaching staff. His resume speaks for itself, but more importantly, he is a humble guy with a fantastic work ethic. I had the privilege to coach him at the beginning of his collegiate career, and I am excited to work with him again. He is well respected in swimming circles in the US and worldwide, and his drive to pursue high level excellence fits in perfectly with our program philosophy. He will connect well with all of our student-athletes."
In 2012-13, Polyakov was on the staff that helped coach the Cardinal women to their third straight BIG EAST Championship. Coming off that meet, the women sent five women as individuals and with all five relays qualifying boosted the NCAA Roster to a total of nine with the relay swimmers. Two individual swimmers made the A-finals and achieved All-American status. The men sent three individuals and also added four more as relay swimmers. Joao De Lucca became the second Cardinal in history to win an NCAA Championship, when he took the 200-free from lane one in a 1:33.49, the third fastest time in the history of the NCAA meet. De Lucca was third in the 100-free and 13th in the 50-free. Caryle Blondell was an honorable mention All-American, finishing 14th in the 100-free. The 400-free relay team that finished fourth made three additional swimmers All-Americans.
Prior to coming to Louisville, Polyakov amassed extensive international experience and gathered a laundry list of accomplishments in collegiate and professional swimming. A 2007 graduate of the University of Alabama, Polyakov swam for the Crimson Tide from 2003-2007. After graduating in 2007, Polyakov spent the last five years in the professional ranks competing.
While at Alabama, where Albiero was on the Alabama swim coaching staff at the time, Polyakov was a 5-time SEC Champion, 2-time NCAA Champion, and 2-time US National Champion.
In 2005 and 2006, he was the 100- and 200- breaststroke champion in the SEC. Again in 2007, Polyakov won the100-breaststroke in the SEC. He is the school record holder in both the 100- and 200-breaststrokes for the Crimson Tide. Polyakov holds the record in the 200-breaststroke for the Southeastern Conference. He was the runner up at the 2003 and 2006 NCAA Championships in the 200-breaststroke. In 2005 and 2007, he was the 200-breaststroke NCAA Breaststroke Champion. For all of his accomplishments and honors as a swimmer for the Crimson Tide, he was named to the Alabama Swimming and Diving Hall of Fame.
"I am thrilled to rejoin with Arthur and look forward to this incredible opportunity," said Polyakov. "We have always had a great level of understanding and respect for each other. I've always appreciated his professional attitude and individual approach towards his athletes. What he has been able to accomplish here at Louisville within such short period of time, really tells you a lot about this organization and its vision."
Polyakov accumulated just as many honors as a student while at the University of Alabama. In 2002 and 2003 he was named to the Alabama President's List. From 2002-2007 he was named to the Alabama Dean's List. 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.
During his time at Alabama and after Polyakov took his talents to the international and then the professional ranks. He was a three-time Olympian having swam in the 2004 Olympic games in Athens, the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, and most recently the 2012 Olympics in London for his native Kazakhstan. In 2004, he was a finalist in the 100m breaststroke and 200m breaststroke. In other international competition, Polyakov was a 2004 FINA World Championship Bronze medalist in the 100m and 200m breaststrokes and then in 2006 he was a FINA World Championship Gold medalist in the 200m breaststroke.
"It is a true honor to be a part of a program that has shown consistent record of success in the past years, both academically and athletically," said Polyakov. "I think that the sky is the limit for this program and I can't wait to contribute to its future success."