United is fortunate to have this high calibre coaching team. Our coaches are highly skilled and professional, personable and commited to supporting our swimmers achieve their full potential in a safe and fun team enviroment.
Igor is United’s Head Coach and has overall responsibility for the delivery of the club’s coaching programme. His philosophy is to drive the club's success by developing both individual performance and creating a positive team environment. Igor’s approach is based on excellent technique and skills, good discipline, smart training and the enjoyment that comes with being part of the successful United team. Igor coaches the Senior squad.
With his wife Larissa, Igor established the Waterlions Swim School and is experienced coaching the full swimming pathway from the Learn-to-Swim stage right through to the high performance level. In addition to being an excellent and experienced coach, Igor achieved the ultimate level in swimming with his keys achievements including: 1988 Seoul Olympic Games (Gold 200m backstroke, Bronze 100m backstroke, 4x 100m Medley Relay) 1986 World Championships (World Champion 100m, 200m backstroke, Bronze 4x100m Medley Relay) Five World Records in 100m and 200m backstroke 1987 European Championships (Silver 200m backstroke) 1986 Goodwill games (Gold 100, 200m backstroke) 1985 European Championships Gold 100, 200m backstroke).
Jamie had head-coach experience and has coached in Auckland and in Zimbabwe, and has coaching experience across the full pathway from young beginners through to advanced age group swimmers. He has also worked as a fitness instructor in Durban in his native South Africa.
Jamie has a strong focus and prioritisation on professional development, and has successfully completed a number of teaching and coaching courses and certifications.
Prior to coaching, Jamie was a competitive swimmer and qualified for, and competed in, several international meets where he won a number of medals, including gold medals at the Youth Commonwealth Games. His main stroke was breaststroke, but he also swam butterfly and the IM. He swam under the South African national coach, Graham Hill, and trained with Olympic gold medallist Chad le Clos.
Asking Jamie about his coaching philosophy, he had the following to say:
“I believe that a swimmer-coach relationship is an equal partnership. My coaching philosophy is to encourage my swimmers to work with me, as opposed to for me. I think that a partnership will ensure that we both reach the best possible versions of ourselves as swimmers, coaches and people. I also put a very heavy emphasis on being competitive in whatever we do. I think there’s a lot of value in applying both the will to win and the will to succeed in everything we do in our lives. I believe in being internally motivated to succeed each and every day and to constantly strive to be the best possible version of yourself.”
Max completed a Bachelor’s Degree in International Affairs at the Florida State University in the USA in 2020, where he was on the college swimming team for four years from 2016 – 2020. During this time Max was one of the team’s top performers and achieved the “All American Honors” in both the pool and classroom.
Prior to becoming a student-athlete at Florida State, Max represented United from 2008-2018 and has always been committed and passionate about the club. Max has a long list of achievements in the pool and still holds New Zealand and Auckland Age Group records, but one of his fondest memories is being part of the United team that won the overall top club at the NZ Short Course Champs in 2015.
Max has recently retired from competitive swimming, and is excited to be returning to New Zealand to be part of the United coaching team. Max had this to say about his coaching philosophy:
“I have been lucky to be coached and mentored by world-class coaches throughout my career. My goal is to combine all the best qualities from my past coaches, and to pass that knowledge onto the next generation of swimmers. What you can expect from me is: simple but effective work, goal setting in and out of the water, organisation, discipline in setting up good habits, having a strong foundation in the basics before excelling in the advanced aspects of swimming, and teamwork.
I have always been a very simple person. I believe hard work yields success. I’ve never believed in taking the easy road, and I always look forward to a challenge in my life. I wish to be infectious in my positive approach and hope to motivate all the swimmers that I come across.”
Jen has responsibility for coaching the Bronze squad. Jen grew up in a competitive swimming environment in Hong Kong, where her main stroke was breaststroke. She has previously coached young swimmers in Hong Kong, Florida and New Zealand, including working with Larissa at Water Lions. Jen is particularly interested in coaching young competitive age group swimmers (8-12 years old) and enjoys their energy, curiosity, and competitiveness. She likes to challenge her swimmers everyday - not just physically but also mentally; helping them see that hard work never goes unrewarded and the importance of working on the little things and the key skills such as turns, underwater work, and starts. Most importantly, she wants her swimmers be proud of their achievements and have fun during training.
Outside of coaching, Jen is a nurse with paediatrics training. She also speaks Cantonese, Mandarin and Spanish.
Marco has been surrounded by a competitive swimming environment for the last 12 years, starting competitive racing when he was 6 years old. He has been swimming with United Swimming Club for the past 10 years and continues to swim in the senior squad under Igor to this day. Marco’s main achievements in swimming include his 11 Auckland records as well as his representation of New Zealand at an international meet. If Marco cannot be found at the pool, he will likely be sitting in lectures at the University of Auckland where he is studying towards a bachelor’s degree in Commerce and Property.
Since Marco was 11 years old, he discovered a strong passion for coaching, from the time he began teaching 5-year olds in the water alongside Larissa Polianskaia. Since 2018 Marco has been coaching with both Waterlions Swim School and United Swimming Club, working with swimmers aged between the ages of 4 and 15 years.
Marco’s coaching philosophy is centred around a strong belief that learning good skills and technique are crucial for young swimmers, as it sets up the base of their future swimming career. His goal is to create a positive and competitive environment in which the swimmers learn good habits and life skills; applying goal setting and determination to reach these goals.
Simone is a part-time coach with United - you can usually find her coaching the Mini-Bronze Squad. Simone grew up in Auckland and has been a competitive swimmer and a passionate supporter of United Swimming Club since she was 10 years old. A backstroker all her life, she has held three Auckland Age Group Records for backstroke events, in addition to numerous United Records and National Age Group titles and medals. Simone has also represented New Zealand at the Australian Age Group State Championships.
Throughout her swimming career Simone has benefitted from being coached by both Igor and Larissa Polianski, and they have also been hugely influential in her coaching development.
Outside of United coaching, Simone also instructs at Waterlions Swim School and is fortunate to be studying on a scholarship at Rutgers University in New Jersey, USA – a Big Ten university where she is a member of the swimming and diving team. Expected to graduate in May 2022, she is studying Human Resource Management and Business Administration.