After eight years of preparing Russian and Swedish swimmers for the Olympic Games, world-renowned coach Dr Andrei Vorontsov has returned to the University of Bath to share his expertise with the student team.
He has been appointed as Assistant Coach to Head of Swimming Mark Skimming and will work with a talented group of student-athletes that includes British 50m freestyle champion Anna Hopkin, who competed at the World University Games in Taipei last month.
Vorontsov is no stranger to the £30million Sports Training Village having previously been based at the University from 1999 to 2008, helping to develop such talents as World open-water silver-medallist Alan Bircher, European Champion Janna Schafer, London 2012 Olympian Stacey Bromley (nee Tadd) and current World Champion Calum Jarvis.
He returned to his native Russia as National Head Coach and oversaw their Olympic programme through to London 2012, then took up a similar role with Sweden for the Rio 2016 cycle. A tremendously successful four years saw Vorontsov help Jennie Johansson and Michelle Coleman become World Champions before Sarah Sjostrom became the first Swedish woman to win Olympic swimming gold.
Now Vorontsov is back in the city he regards as a second home and looking forward to an exciting new challenge.
“It’s very nice to be back at the University of Bath,” he said. “There is a very warm, family atmosphere here and great surroundings with the nature around the campus and a beautiful city just down the hill.
“It’s a very special place and the facilities here are at the very top level for European swimming.
“I have had a very interesting sporting life but there is always a sacrifice to be made and mine was spending eight years away from my family as they were still living here in Trowbridge, so I’m very much enjoying being back with them.
“I would get back to England a few times a year and would meet up with Mark every time, so I stayed in touch with what was happening here.
“I remember when Mark first came to Bath. He was a very good junior coach and was the leader of our age-group programme before becoming Head Coach for the University.
“We have stayed in touch for all that time and would exchange training programmes. We have a very good working relationship – I am happy to share all of my experience and, at the same time, I will learn a lot from Mark too. It is great to be working with him again.
“I do hope it will be interesting for the young swimmers as there is a lot of potential here. The approach to swimming in this country has become a lot more professional since I first arrived here in 1999 and the depth of talent has increased very much, right across the board. I didn’t expect to see so many good student-swimmers on the programme.”
Vorontsov was part of the British Swimming National Performance Centre when he first started at the University of Bath, coaching at the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games and Manchester 2002 Commonwealth Games, then worked on the student programme before becoming Talent Development Coach for both the South West and East Anglia.
He also has a PhD in Biomechanics and is considered one of the sport’s leading authorities on its application in swimming having published more than 100 articles, scientific reports and books on the subject.
Skimming said: “It is great to have Andrei back in Bath, he is a fantastic coach who has produced top-level results all over the world and his knowledge of the sport is second to none.
“I learnt so much from Andrei when I first came to Bath and I look forward to learning much more from him again. I believe this partnership will enhance the programme at the University of Bath dramatically.”
The University of Bath’s student swimming set-up was the only senior programme nationally to rank in the top ten most-improved clubs at the recent British Swimming Summer Championships.
As well as training in the Olympic-sized London 2012 Legacy Pool, students on the programme also have access to the world-class Team Bath Gym and Physio & Sport Science Centre. They can also apply for sporting scholarships and lifestyle support through the Team Bath Dual Career programme.