Alena Popchanka (born 28 July 1979 in Gomel, Belarus) is a 4-time Olympic freestyle and butterfly swimmer originally from Belarus. She swam for Belarus at the 1996, 2000 and 2004 Olympics. At the 2008 Olympics she swam for France; after her marriage to Frenchman Frédéric Vergnoux in early 2005.
|Full name||Alena Popchanka|
|Nationality|| France (2005-on) |
|Born||28 July 1979|
|Height||1.76 m (5 ft 9 in)|
She married Vergnoux, her coach, in early 2005, and became a French citizen a few months following the marriage (June). In November 2005, Popchanka was cleared to swim internationally for France, following a 1-year sit-out from competition which was not waived by the Belorussian federation following her departure and last swim for Belarus at the 2004 Olympics. Because of this timing, Popchanka was unable to swim at the 2005 World Championships to defend her 200 m freestyle title from 2003.
Since November 2005, she has competed for France. Leading up to the 2008 Olympics, the couple lived in Edinburgh, Scotland, where Vergnoux coached from 2004-2008. Following the 2008 Olympics, Vergnoux and Popchanka moved back to France, after Vergnoux left his coaching job in Edinburgh for one in Paris.
Vergnoux is notable in his own right: during his time in Edinburgh, he was twice named British Coach of the Year. He also served on the British Olympic Team staff for the 2008 Olympics.
- "12th FINA World Championships". Archived from the original on 2007-06-06. Retrieved 2007-06-09.
- Evans, Hilary; Gjerde, Arild; Heijmans, Jeroen; Mallon, Bill. "Yelena Popchenko". Olympics at Sports-Reference.com. Sports Reference LLC. Retrieved 2009-07-21.
- Popchanka Can Begin Representing France in November Archived 2012-08-25 at the Wayback Machine, published by Swimming World Magazine online on 2005-06-02; retrieved 2009-07-21
- Swimming gets a boost at Lagardère Paris Racing, Lagardère Press Release, published 2008-06-13; retrieved 2009-07-21.