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'We want to be there for you' - Swimming's Brett Hawke, Lauren Hancock to coach Tigers in Rio Olympics
Auburn junior Luis Carlos Martinez will swim the 100 butterfly for Guatemala in Rio.
Aug. 2, 2016

By Jeff Shearer

AUBURN, Ala. - When Auburn junior Luis Carlos Martinez and former Tiger Marcelo Chierighini are getting ready to swim in Rio, they'll see familiar faces at the Olympic Aquatics Stadium.

Their Auburn coaches are also their Olympic coaches.

Chierighini, the SEC's male Swimmer of the Year in 2013, will compete in the 100 free and 400 free relay for Auburn swimming & diving head coach Brett Hawke, part of Brazil's Olympic coaching staff.

Martinez, a junior, will compete in the 100 butterfly for Guatemala, working with Auburn associate women's head coach Lauren Hancock.

"We have a such a good coach-athlete relationship. It goes beyond the pool," Martinez said. "She worries about me, the way I eat, everything. It's not only about swimming. And having her there in the Olympic games, of course it's going to help because she knows me. She knows the way I train, she knows the way I swim, she knows things that motivate me, the things that bring me down. And it's not only a physical presence, but also a moral support."

"I think I'm the lucky one, really," Hancock said. "I get to go with him and get to see him compete in this venue. But I would imagine it does give him a little bit of comfort knowing that I'll be there right next to him the whole way through, just supporting him and being his cheerleader, and having a familiar face alongside for two weeks while we're in Rio."

Martinez is making his Olympic debut. Chierighini will be competing in his second Olympiad. In 2014, Hawke coached Chierighini and Auburn's 400 free relay to the NCAA title.



<em> Former Auburn national champion Marcelo Chierighini is competing in his second Olympics.</em>
Former Auburn national champion Marcelo Chierighini is competing in his second Olympics.

"He helps me a ton," Chierighini said. "Every time during these tough moments and tough decisions where I need to perform at that moment, he's next to me, talking to me. It's essential to me. So, so helpful."

"We've always told our athletes when we recruit them from the get-go, we want to take them to biggest meets in the world. And we want to be there for you. We want to coach you every step of the way," Hawke said.

"And for them to know that we're going to be there when they need it the most is definitely added comfort for them. And we just bring our experience and knowledge when they need it to perform at the highest level."

Hawke also mentored Brazil's Bruno Fratus, who trained in Auburn this summer.

"It's always a huge honor to go down as an Auburn coach, and seeing all of the representatives we have from all around the world. And then to be part of the home team from Brazil, taking a couple of my boys down there. It's just such a great experience. It's what we dream about as kids," Hawke said.

This will be Hawke's fifth Olympic games. He swam for Australia in 2000 and 2004, was head coach for the Bahamas in 2012, and an assistant for Brazil in 2008 and 2016.

"I know these guys are super charged about it. Going back to their home Olympics, and Luis heading off to his first. There are so many reasons to be excited for this. And then just proud to be an Auburn representative."

Jeff Shearer is a Senior Writer at Follow him on Twitter:

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