Australia's 'Thorpedo' teams up with Popov's coach
Five-time Olympic champion Ian Thorpe will work with Gennadi Touretski, the former coach of Russian swimming great Alexander Popov, as he seeks to get back into peak form for next year's London Olympics after more than four years out of the pool.
The 28-year-old Australian, who announced his comeback last month after quitting competition in 2006, will train under the Russia-born Touretski in Switzerland ahead of Olympic trials next March, Swimming Australia (SA) said on Wednesday.
"I'm looking forward to working with Gennadi, and have been hopeful for some time now that we would be able to get together," Thorpe said in statement released by SA.
"I know when he worked with Alex Popov and then Michael Klim he was able to work closely with them to suit their individual needs and physiology, and he's also a real student of the sport."
Image: Ian Thorpe
Photographs: Getty Images
Touretski coached Olympic champs Popov, Klin
Touretski was based at the Australian Institute of Sport for 10 years from 1992 where he coached Popov, the 100 and 200 metres freestyle champion at the 1992 and 1996 Olympics, and Australian double Olympic gold medallist Klim.
The 33-year-old Klim won relay golds at the Sydney Games 11 years ago and also announced his own comeback after a four-year retirement less than two weeks after Thorpe.
Touretski also worked with Australian Petria Thomas, who won the 100 metres individual butterfly at the 2004 Athens Olympics and two relay golds.
The 61-year-old was currently coaching around eight Swiss swimmers in Tenero, less than 50 km from the Australian Institute of Sport's European headquarters in Verase, Italy, SA said.
Thorpe and Touretski would train at Tenero for the majority of the year and make trips to Abu Dhabi and Australia for specific camps and blocks of training, SA said.
Image: Gennadi Touretski
Thorpe has 11 world titles, 9 Olympic medals
The swimmer nicknamed 'Thorpedo' captured 11 world titles, nine Olympic medals and set 13 long-course records before announcing his retirement in November 2006.
He faces a long haul back to London, where he would likely face American Michael Phelps, and cannot compete until November 2 when he will have been back on the international drug-testing register for nine months.
"From the outset we wanted Ian to work with the best, and we're pleased that he has been able to set up a situation where he can train under Gennadi as his full-time coach, and we are thankful to the Swiss Swimming Federation for their support," SA head coach Leigh Nugent said.
"The added bonus for the Australian swim team is that we get to use the experience and skill of someone like Gennadi in our program, and that means getting him involved in future sprint and relay camps that we'll hold this year and next."
Image: Ian Thorpe