Former Stanford rower Austin Hack, who starred for the Stanford men's rowing program from 2011-14, stroked the United States Men's Eight to the gold medal in the final of the FISA European and Final Olympic Qualification Regatta Tuesday in Lucerne, Switzerland.
The victory punched USA's ticket to the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, August 5-21.
"We knew someone would shoot out right from the start, which happened indeed," Hack told USRowing.com. "But we trusted our middle 1000. We have a great base. At the halfway mark I had no clue where we were. Once we crossed the finish line, I still wasn't sure if we qualified. It is still really surreal."
Hack becomes the sixth Olympian who has rowed at Stanford under head coach Craig Amerkhanian. This marks the fourth consecutive Olympics a Stanford men's rower will be represented. Three former Cardinal rowers have competed in multiple Olympic Games since 2004. Jamie Schroeder (USA 4-) and Adam Kreek (Canada 8+) competed in the 2004 Games in Athens, Greece. Kreek (Canada 8+), Schroeder (USA 4x) and David Banks (USA 8+) competed in the 2008 Games in Beijing, China. Banks (USA 8+), Jake Cornelius (USA 8+), Alex Osborne (USA 4x) and Silas Stafford (USA 2-) competed in the 2012 games in London, England.
"I'm so proud of Austin," Amerkhanian said. "To stroke the United States Eight to victory in a race this close with such high stakes on the line is such a tremendous accomplishment. His character, his leadership and his family are what make Austin so special. Congrats to him and the entire United States Eight on qualifying for the Olympics."
Hack from Old Lyme, Conn., earned his degree in political science from Stanford in 2014. He was a three-time All-Pac-12 selection and the 2013 and 2014 Pac-12 Men's Rower of the Year. Hack was a finalist for the USRowing Collegiate Athlete of the Year as a junior in 2013. A two-time Intercollegiate Rowing Association Academic All-American, Hack was the 2014 Pac-12 Scholar-Athlete of the Year. Rowed in the varsity eight that medaled in three Pac-12 Championships from 2012-14.