OLD LYME — In a truly remarkable achievement, two Lyme-Old Lyme High School (LOLHS) graduates have been selected to represent the US in the Men’s Eight at the 2021 Tokyo Olympics.
Austin Hack, who graduated from LOLHS in 2010, and Liam Corrigan, a member of the LOLHS Class of 2014, both rowed for LOLHS and then went on to represent their respective universities at Stanford (Hack) and Harvard (Corrigan).
Hack is the only returning member of the 2021 US Men’s Eight. He was a member of the 2016 US Men’s Eight team, which came in fourth in the Rio de Janeiro Olympics in Brazil.
His list of rowing accomplishments is encyclopedic with an abbreviated version including membership of the following national teams: Junior, 2009-10; Under 23, 2011-12; Senior, 2013-15, 2019; and Olympic, 2016, 2020.
In terms of international results, Hack finished fifth in the the eight at the 2019 World Rowing Championships and also fifth in the four at the 2019 World Rowing Cup II.
He won bronze in the eight at the 2016 World Rowing Cup II and won the eight at the 2016 Final Olympic Qualification Regatta.
Hack has been working part time for McKinsey and Company, but during the COVID-19 pandemic, he was living and training in Old Lyme. Part of his training was on a bicycle adapted by Steve Morrissey of Old Lyme on which Hack ultimately set new records on all the Strava segments in town.
Asked how they felt about their son, Austin, and Corrigan’s success in being named to the US Men’s Eight, Dr. Gregory Hack and Dr. Barbara Hack told LymeLine exclusively, “We are beyond thrilled for both Austin and Liam! On the men’s side of rowing, the US will only be sending an 8+ and a 4- to Tokyo. To think that of those 12 seats, two of them will be occupied by sons of Old Lyme is just incredible!”
The Hacks added, “It’s a testament not only to their grit and strength, but also to their years of training/coaching starting right here at Lyme-Old Lyme High School.”
Since graduating, he has moved to Oakland, Calif. to train with the men’s training center for the upcoming Olympics. His accomplishments with Team USA include finishing fourth in the pair at the 2017 World Rowing Under 23 Championships, placing fifth in the four at the 2015 World Rowing Junior Championships, taking eighth in the pair at the 2014 Youth Olympic Games and finishing ninth in the eight at the 2014 World Rowing Junior Championships.
Corrigan recently rowed in the men’s four that won the B final at the 2019 World Rowing Under 23 Championships.
Responding to a question about how they felt after learning Liam had been selected for the US Men’s Eight, Brian and Joan Corrigan said, “It is difficult to describe how overjoyed and proud we are to see Liam on his way to achieving goals, which he set for himself many years ago. We have watched him work diligently over the years, and are ecstatic that he is finding success.”
They noted, “We are grateful to LOLHS, the Old Lyme Rowing Association (OLRA) and the Town of Lyme for their support over many years,” concluding, “We feel so fortunate to live in such a wonderful community.”
Speaking on behalf of the OLRA, Candace and Paul Fuchs commented, “‘The Old Lyme Rowing Association is bursting with pride over the dedication and perseverance of our athletes and their families, which brought us to this historic moment. In partnership with the Town of Old Lyme and Regional School District 18, our little organization is pleased to provide a place for big kids to play and find success.’
Sadly, neither family can attend the Olympics in person due to COVID-19 restrictions, but Barbara and Greg Hack ended their email to us enthusiastically with the words, “Go Old Lyme! Go USA!” We wholeheartedly second that sentiment and wish Austin and Liam every success in their Olympic endeavors!
Editor’s Note: Old Lyme Rowing Association (OLRA) oversees LOLHS crew, and Blood Street Sculls. Blood Street Sculls was established by Fred Emerson (on Blood Street) around 1965, for the cultivation of rowing for local high school students, college students and adults.
Some of the country’s most notable athletes called Blood Street Sculls home in the early days including Jim Dietz who is one of the most decorated scullers in US history (named to three US Olympic teams).
A strong supporter of the nascent sport of women’s rowing, Fred Emerson organized some of the first women’s national championships to be held on Rogers Lake in 1971, which included athletes who would ultimately represent the US in Olympic competition.
Blood Street Sculls was an incubator for rowing programs for high schools and colleges across New England. USCGA and Connecticut College got their start in this manner.
Anita DeFrantz first learned to row as a Connecticut College student, rowing on Rogers Lake. DeFrantz went on to represent the US in the 1976 women’s eight. She was a vocal legal authority when US athletes were prohibited from competition in 1980 and she has risen through the ranks of international rowing and is currently the vice president of the IOC.
Significant achievements — excluding those by Hack and Corrigan — by OLRA athletes since 2000 include:
2008: Andrew Bolton Men’s lightweight four spare
2012: Sarah Trowbridge Women’s Open double sculls
Sarah Trowbridge: 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011
Under 23 World Championships
Hannah Paynter: 2019
Junior World Championships
Christiana Congdon: 2017
Since record-keeping was initiated in 1997, over 100 athletes in OLRA programs have gone on to represent their university in collegiate rowing competition.
Paul Fuchs, Director of Rowing, holds the men’s lightweight course record for Head of the Charles, and competed on seven US World Championship teams. He has coached at the Olympic and World championship levels and serves on the Executive Council of FISA, the international governing body for the sport of rowing.