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Brett in Brazil


Brett Hawke, Auburn's head coach for swimming and diving, is in Rio for the 2016 Olympics as an assistant coach for host Brazil's swimming team. Among those Hawke will be coaching is former Auburn swimmer Marcelo Chierighini and Bruno Fratus, a professional swimmer who trains in Auburn under Hawke.


Rio

Aug. 15, 2016


Well I'm home sitting on my couch, enjoying the Olympics just like everybody else. It feels surreal to be back watching as a fan of sports.

I didn't get the chance to blog on my finals days in the village, it was crazy. Bruno raced the 50 final on the second to last night, and finished a respectable 6th place. It hard to explain to people just how hard it is to compete in an Olympic final, especially in front of a home crowd. I got the chance to experience it in Sydney in 2000, and it an environment unlike anything else I've ever experienced. It really took my breath away when I walked out to the roar of the crowd, and I know Bruno experienced the same thing. They were chanting "Bruno, Bruno, Bruno" right before the start of the race.

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Rio

Aug. 10, 2016


Today was the 100 freestyle final for Marcelo. A dream come true really, swimming in front of your home crowd in the blue ribbon event of the program. We've had a winner in this event before, Rowdy Gaines, an Auburn legend.

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Rio

Aug. 9, 2016


Our goal all along in this process has been to swim in the Olympic finals and contend for medals, and our dreams have come true today! Let me take you through the day.

Marcelo was the first event this afternoon so we woke a little earlier than normal, around 9:30am. We ate a great breakfast at the athlete dining hall and jumped on the 10am bus to the pool. We like to get there about 2 hours before the event. Not too early but just enough time to get the mind and body ready to race. To be honest that was difficult this morning. Marcelo was sluggish and not as focused as I would like. I think it was a little hang over fatigue from the relay two nights ago. The good news was most of his competitors were feeling the same way. It wasn't his best race but it was enough to get him in the top 16 and a semifinal swim.

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Rio

Aug. 7, 2016


Finally, race day! After all the preparation and sitting around waiting we got our chance to hit the competition pool today. Let me start by saying how proud I am of Marcelo and the boys relay team from Brazil. The crowd literally took your breath away when they walked out to race. My heart was pounding with nervous energy, good energy. The crowd roared and chanted "Brazil, Brazil, Brazil!" What an incredible experience. Cameras everywhere and millions watching around the world.

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Rio

Aug. 6, 2016


"I wasn't even pumped up in call room but as soon as I walked in its like 'fight or flight' and I chose to get something out of it. That's how it is. You can either be shy of the arena or take advantage of it. Going down that first 50 I knew it was fast. It wasn't until 25m to go that the crowd started to roar and I heard it." Adam Peaty - Great Britain.

This pretty much sums up how you want your athletes to react when put in a situation where you have to perform. We train up and down the pool for hours, days, years, but nothing can prepare you for walking out at an Olympic Games. It's really a natural response. Can you control the nerves and relax or will they get the better of you. Adam Peaty showed us all how to do it today, and broke a world record in the process.

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Rio

Aug. 5, 2016


Let the games begin!!! The Rio Olympic Games are now open and we are ready here in team Brazil! First day of racing is only hours away now.

It was a very exciting day to be around the village. We started early today around 9am because the venues closed at midday because of the opening ceremony. They needed every bus on hand to get athletes, officials, and dignitaries to the stadium at 6pm. It was so fun to watch everybody getting dressed up.

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Rio

Aug. 4, 2016


Today was a fun day to be an Olympian. We went to the main pool for the first time and I got chills walking in and seeing the pool! This is going to be a fun competition!

The pool is built as a bowl with the crowd sitting just off the deck all the way around. Brazilians love to party and this will be one giant party starting tomorrow with the opening ceremony.

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Rio

Aug. 3, 2016


We are only two full days away from competition! Today was our first full day at the village and it gave us the chance to explore two swimming venues. The first is a temporary structure with two 10-lane, 50-meter pools set up side by side inside a giant marquee. It's always fun walking in for the first time and seeing all the teams there. Australia and the USA are two of the bigger teams, along with France and China, who were all there when team Brazil walked in. Exciting! You say your pleasantries and catch up with friends, then it's off to work. Staying focused and relaxed is key over the next few days.

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Rio

Aug. 2, 2016


Today was a BIG day! We departed the São Paulo training facility at 8am and made a beeline for the airport. Things ran remarkably smooth considering we expected the worst. Traffic can get very crazy but today it was on our side!

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Rio

Aug. 1, 2016


We have finally settled into the routine on waking up at 10am and going to bed at 2am-the next day. I know it sounds crazy but thanks to NBC, preliminaries will start at 1pm (local time) and finals start at 10pm so we had to push our start time during the day back a little. It's taken us a full week but I think we have it down now.

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Rio

July 31, 2016


Today was relay practice for the 4x100 freestyle, which is on Day 2 of the Olympics. The team has five guys who could possibly swim so we did a number of different combinations to see who would swim each spot. This is highly classified information so I won't go into order of the relay on this blog, but I will say the changeovers were great and the chemistry among the boys is spot on!

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Rio

July 30, 2016


Today we ate fresh fruit from the market, enjoyed the Famous Brazilian Acai (ice cream consistency), and drank the delicious Guarana soda, best served over ice with orange slices! Yes it was another day of embracing the culture and eating like a king.

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Rio

July 29, 2016


Ok I took a break from blogging yesterday because honestly I really didn't think anyone was reading. Then a few people reached out and told me they loved hearing all the little insights into the training of an Olympic athlete so close to the games, so thank you for that! It's inspired me to keep writing!

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Rio

July 27, 2016


Today we went through a dress rehearsal for Rio. We simulated what race day will be like. The early session, 2 p.m., we did our normal lift and swim, all with the knowledge that we were just preparing the body to go fast tonight.

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Rio

July 26, 2016


Today's theme: Recovery. Every swimmers dream to be honest. When you're in the thick of the season and the work is beating you down, you think these days will never come. However, it's an essential part of taper, where the body is recovering from months of training and overload. We don't just recover the body, but we must recover the mind! That's why we enjoy these days.

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Rio

July 25, 2016


Today was our first official day of practice with the entire Brazilian swimming team. We have a choice of two pools. One right next to the hotel (25m) or one about 20 min drive away (50m). Marcelo actually learned to swim at the pool close to the hotel so it was very surreal to now be back preparing for the Olympic Games in the same pool.

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Rio

July 24, 2016


We set out from Atlanta to São Paulo last night in the first step of our journey to the 2016 Rio Olympics. The flight was 10 hours straight, so just enough time for a movie and 5hrs of sleeping, plus a couple of meals in between. If someone from Delta is reading this, please give us some more leg room in economy, it's not athlete (or coach) friendly!

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