To take swimming professionally because almost drowned in the childhood. To return to the sport after a 16-year break, to get into condition for three years and to win the World Police and Fire Games in August 2017. This is the way of traffic police officer from Voronezh, police captain Vadim Fetisov. He brought one bronze and three gold medals in swimming from the competitions in Los Angeles.

The policeman shared at a press conference in the Voronezh House of Journalists on Tuesday, August 22 what surprised him in the United States and what he would like to learn from the experience of the foreign security officials.

About coming to sport

- I started swimming at the age of eight, from the second grade. I spent the summer with my grandmother in the village. Once we went to the river, I began to sink. My older cousin pulled me out and saved me. This incident gave impetus. I asked my parents to take me to a swimming group. I was making progress, got into the specialized class at my school. Then I graduated from the Institute of Physical Education, became a master of sports. I trained until 1998, then went into the army. After that, I got a job in the police, graduated from the Law Faculty. I quitted sport. I used to work as a militiaman, then as a platoon officer in the Patrol and Inspection Service. Since 2006, I have been registering cars and motorcycles. And in 2014, swimming became an applied sport in the Interior Ministry system. They remembered about me, asked me to take part in the competitions. I was interested. I started to train regularly.

About getting into condition

- I just went to the gym, to the pool regularly. Now I train for an hour every day. Of course, it is not much, but you must understand that I am at work from morning till 18:00. After work, I hurry home, because my family needs me. As a result, my training starts at 22:00.

I have two sons: one will be nine years old, the second is only five months. The elder used to go to the pool, but he is not so keen on swimming as I am. Now he takes up football.

Photo - from Vadim Fetisov's archive

About the competitions in California

- When the Professional Development Department staff offered me to go to the XII World Police and Fire Games, I immediately agreed. There were small overlays: as we did it for the first time, it took us so long to prepare the documents. As a result, I got the visa at the last minute. I was the only participant from Voronezh. The Russian team included 256 people in total.

The games were an inexpressible experience. I liked the organization, everything was at a high level. The competitions were held at the stadium, where the Olympic Games of 1984 were held. The facility is rather old, but it was reconstructed several times. The opening ceremony was on August 7, it was large scale, the stadium was full of spectators and press. 

Photo - from Vadim Fetisov's archive

All these days we had a busy schedule. The competitions began early in the morning: at 7:00  - warm-up, at 8:00 - the starts. Because of the large number of participants, the competitions ended at 17:00-18:00. Fortunately, we arrived a day earlier and left a day later. So, we managed to visit the main tourist places - the Alley of Stars, the Hollywood Hills.

About America

- I was most surprised by the Americans“ culture of driving. I do not know what it is based on. Maybe on high fines for violations. But everyone strictly observe the tarffic rules. Drivers give way to pedestrians, do not run a red light. For the time spent in Los Angeles, I did not see a single accident. They say that Los Angeles is a city of traffic jams. But compared to Moscow, we can assume that they have no congestion at all. The ones they have are not a problem at all.

As for the cons, the public transport system seemed to me not very developed. Most people use their own cars. My hotel was far from the pool, where the competitions were held. I chose this option on the website of the World Police and Fire Games in the recommended section. It was not convenient to get there every day: I used the subway with transfers, and had to walk to my station.

Photo - from Vadim Fetisov's archive

About my colleagues from other countries

- We communicated during the breaks between the races, but not as much as we would like. I did not even watch other sports, spending all the time in the pool. The participants spoke mainly English, and I felt the language barrier. My colleagues from Georgia who lived in the same hotel helped me. They are good guys, speak several languages, including English. They helped me to get my baggage. When I arrived in the United States, my baggage was lost and brought only four days later. I was nervously searching for any sports stores to buy swimming trunks.

I do not communicate with my acquaintances from the games now. I have a page in Odnoklassniki, but I rarely visit it - I prefer to communicate in person. Nevertheless, I have posted some photos from the competition.

Photo - Vitaliy Grass

About the attitude of Americans towards Russians

- Everyone was very friendly. There were no fans with us, but the local spectators welcomed the Russian team. A lot of people came to us and asked to take a photo with Russian athletes.

Basically, the participants in the games are former athletes who keep training. It was hard to compete, but after the finish the opponents congratulated on the victory. I did not notice any side glances. We were not checked for doping: it's not the Olympic Games, where high results are important, it's the sport of police and firefighters. For us, this issue is absolutely irrelevant.

There is an interesting tradition at the competitions: at parting everyone changes things - T-shirts or badges. On the last day, we constantly herd "Change, сhange, сhange". So, I brought home the t-shirts of the national teams of Canada and Brazil.

About the experience of foreign police

- The police are everywhere in Los Angeles. There are a lot of foot patrols, law enforcement officers on bicycles and cars, horse police. Even police helicopters fly over the city. Apparently, the law enforcement agencies staff in the city is very large. What practices to adopt? First of all, the material and technical equipment. The helicopters, patrol cars are all brand new. As for the staff, in Russia we also have good, experienced employees.

Photo - from Vadim Fetisov's archive

RIA "Voronezh" note for information

The World Police and Fire Games have been held every odd year since 1985. Current or retired officers of police and fire departments take part in these competitions. They compete in Olympic sports, non-Olympic sports, as well as in applied disciplines used in police and fire drills.

In 2017, the World Police and Fire Games took place in Los Angeles for the 17th time. The opening ceremony was held on August 7. The games were attended by more than 8 thousand police officers from 70 countries on all continents. The competitions lasted 10 days, and included 65 sports.

Vadim Fetisov serves at the Interregional Registration and Examination Department No. 1 of the State Traffic Safety Inspectorate in Voronezh. At the games, he won a bronze medal in 50 m butterfly (29.99), a gold medal in 100 m freestyle (1.00.25), a gold medal in 50 m breaststroke (35.24), a gold medal in freestyle in the same distance (25.94).