Austin Hack and Liam Corrigan, two Olympic athletes from Old Lyme, are competing for the gold on Thursday at 9:25 p.m. in the Men’s Eight Competition at the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games.
They both grew up in Old Lyme and rowed with the Old Lyme Rowing Association Blood Street Sculls and Old Lyme High School.
Members of the junior rowing program said they were excited to watch.
“It’s so crazy to think that somebody from such a small town like Old Lyme can make it to the Tokyo Olympics,” Victoria Stout, a junior rower from Old Lyme, said.
“It’s really spectacular. The fact that two kids walked out on these same docks that we do are over in Tokyo representing our country is really inspiring,” said Henry Hunt, a junior rower from Park City, Utah.
The men’s eight competition is a challenging race that leaves no room for mistakes, according to Paul Fuchs, the junior head coach and director of rowing at the Old Lyme Rowing Association.
“It all happens so fast. It’s like full speed ahead, right away, all the way to the finish. It’s as hard as it gets,” Fuchs said.
This is Hacks’ second time competing in the Olympics and it is a first for Corrigan.
“They’re incredible people, no matter how you slice it. It’s hard to imagine that they can’t be successful with what they’ve done,” Fuchs said.
This is the fourth time the Old Lyme Rowing Association had a former athlete compete in the Olympics. Others include Sarah Trowbridge and Andrew Bolton.
“We try to create people that love the sport, believe in themselves, are interested in success and we try to lead them down a path that makes them believe. They don’t necessarily leave here as champions, but they’re set up in life to be able to accomplish great things,” Fuchs said.
As a congratulatory banner hangs on the side of the boathouse, junior rowers said seeing Hack and Corrigan compete makes their dream a bit more attainable.
“It can almost feel intimidating how someone would get there from someone competing on the minor scale like us. But it’s really inspiring to see that that’s possible,” said Hunt.
“It takes a lot of hard work. Hopefully one day, that will be me,” Felse Kyle, a junior rower from Old Lyme, said.
You can watch the race Thursday at 9:25 p.m.