Vladimir Dolgov championed a bronze medal for swimming in the Moscow Olympic Games in 1980.
Now, almost 30 years later, Dolgov will shepherd a new generation of competitive swimmers in Bexley – maybe even Olympic swimmers.
Dolgov will lead the newly-formed Dynamo Swim Team, a registered member of the United States Swim Association, at the Jewish Community Center of Greater Columbus. The team will be open to all competitively-minded swimmers from beginner to expert up through high school.
Dolgov began training at age 18 for the Olympics when he left home to swim with the national team of the USSR, his native country.
"We lived and trained with our team members and coaches and we became sort of a family during that time," Dolgov said.
His wife Svetlana did the same at age 14.
"It’s a different way of life," Vladimir Dolgov said.
He remained ranked as one of the top 10 backstroke swimmers in the world from 1979-1981 and two years after leaving home, earned a bronze medal in the 100-meter backstroke event at the 1980 Olympic Games in Moscow.
Dolgov also enjoyed a two-time silver medal award in the World Student Games, and became a seven-time USSR National Champion in the 100-meter and 200-meter backstroke events.
Since then, Dolgov has earned a graduate degree in coaching and physical education from Kharkov University and boasts more than 24 years of coaching experience.
Though his methods do not mandate that swimmers leave home to train with the team, Dolgov says he continues to keep techniques fresh.
"New techniques, new ways to train and new equipment keeps the sport moving forward, keeps it interesting," he said. "I still get in the water to create new and individualized drills for my swimmers."
Dolgov hopes the members of his team will continue to swim after high school and beyond – far beyond, he said.
"I would like to see them continue to swim and improve through the college level and hopefully to the Olympics," Dolgov said.
Contenders or not, he greatly enjoys watching members of his teams grow though the years.
"I really like working with the kids. We spend so much time together; it’s as if they are my kids, too."
Representatives of the Dynamo Swim Team Parent Boosters said the team hopes to draw swimmers from Bexley, German Village, Gahanna, Pickerington, Reynoldsburg, Canal Winchester and Grove City.
The JCC will hold a pre-season camp, open to all swimmers interested in practicing prior to the fall/winter season, from Aug. 25 to Sept. 14. During this time, swimmers can tryout for placement in one of four team levels. Once the season begins, practices will be held four to five times per week from Sept. 15 to March 8.
Spring season runs from April 14 through June 8, and summer session lasts from June 9 through July 26. All practices will be held at the JCC, at 1125 College Ave.