Mexican swimmer Lili Ibañez has a new coach as she returns from shoulder surgery earlier this year: former Auburn head coach, and one of the most accomplished sprint coaches in history, Brett Hawke. Ibañez will join 2019 World Championship silver medalist in the 50 free Bruno Fratus and 3-time World Champion sprinter Roland Schoeman under Hawke’s leadership.
Ibañez says that she will split time between the High Performance National Center in Mexico under former Mexican National Team swimmer Cesar Uribe and the pool in Coral Springs, Florida where Fratus primarily trains.
“To me Brett has always been one of the best sprint coaches in the world, in Latin America specially he is an absolute legend,” Ibañez says. “He has also had experience with shoulder injuries, I have no doubt his guidance along with Cesar’s experience will help me to become my best version after surgery.”
Hawke was Brazilian Cesar Cielo‘s coach at Auburn in 2009 when Cielo broke the World Records in both the 50 and 100 long course meter freestyles. Both records still stand. He also coached Fred Bosquet, who took silver in the 50 free at that meet.
Ibañez had surgery on her left shoulder to repair 3 tears in March, and is back in the water and building to a full training lode by October.
“My shoulder is recovering perfectly, but I will need to keep strengthening it until the 2 staples I have in my labrum biodegrade,” Ibañez said of the injury. “So having my doctor, Raul Carrillo, closer, along with daily therapy, will make sure I’m able to train as I need to achieve big things in Tokyo.
“I believe 100% in the vision of the new Mexican Minister of sports, Ana Guevara. She was an Olympic medalist, she knows what an athlete needs to get there, the change she has been doing for Mexican sports really gives me the confidence that I will be able to train in the best conditions.”
The 28-year old has spent most of her adult life training at Texas A&M University in College Station, Texas under Steve Bultman – aside from a short stint working with Coley Stickels in California.
“I’ve shared 9 years with Steve Bultman at Texas A&M, one of the best programs in the NCAA. What he represents to me and my family is beyond what I can tell in words. He is the man who changed my life. I carry on his teachings in my everyday life both as a swimmer and as a person. He has taken part in every decision since my injury, and he knows I will come back stronger. Because that’s what he has taught me. To focus on what I can control, to have fun, and never give up.”
Ibañez is a 2011 Pan American Games bronze medalist and holds Mexican Records in 13 events, including in the 50 free (25.15) and 100 free (55.39) in long course; and the 50 free (24.56) and 100 free (53.19). All 4 of those record-breaking swims were done in 2018 while battling her shoulder injury.