Penn AC Gold 2020

 Sabina Pierce

Junior Program Details


Unfortunately, we are deeply disappointed to announce that due to the COVID-19 health crisis, we are cancelling Penn AC Gold this year. The University of Pennsylvania (where we were planning to house and feed our athletes) decided that it would not provide any summer housing this year, due to its own concerns about maintaining a safe environment for residents.

That forced us to look at alternatives. We considered potentially staying in other facilities and also considered starting the camp later in the summer, but unfortunately, we came to the conclusion that it still poses a health risk to have so many athletes living in such close quarters for the month-long camp. It is a huge disappointment, after a spring of many cancelled seasons and other events, but will have to wait until 2021.

Please stay safe this summer. Keep training and improving. We hope you can all get back on the water safely as soon as possible and we look forward to hosting an amazing camp in 2021.

We are not a recreational summer rowing camp. Our goal is to promote learning, teamwork, and competitiveness by providing education and expecting excellence on a daily basis. Penn AC Gold will provide you the opportunity to challenge yourself in many areas – technique, fitness, discipline, teamwork, and mental discipline and toughness. What you learn here will serve you long after you leave. You will be exposed to a level of competition not found in most high school rowing programs.

Program Dates

Practice starts on June 19th but all athletes living in the housing on the University of Pennsylvania’s campus must arrive in Philadelphia on June 18th by 6:00 PM.

Our final regatta will be the US Rowing National Championships on Lake Harsha in Clermont County, OH. Youth events are currently scheduled to end on Thursday, July 16th. Our return date to Philadelphia is currently planned for Fri., July 17th. Upon our return to Philadelphia, all rowers should be picked up at Penn AC. For those flying home from Philadelphia, transportation will be provided to the Philadelphia International Airport. Rowers are also permitted to depart directly from the regatta and travel home with their parents.

Junior Coaching Staff

Director of Programs - Paul Coomes
Men's Staff
Head Coach – Junior Men: Julian Stephanski
1st Assistant Coach:
2nd Assistant Coach:
Women's Staff
Head Coach – Junior Women: Serra Sevenler
1st Assistant Coach: David Hammond
2nd Assistant Coach:

Daily Schedule

Penn AC Gold offers a comprehensive program which provides a daily schedule that simulates the training schedules of collegiate and pre-elite athletes. Below is a typical daily practice schedule.

Typical Daily Schedule
07:00 – Breakfast
08:15 – Bus departs for the boathouse
08:30 – First practice
11:30 – Bus departs for University of Pennsylvania
12:00 – Lunch
13:00 – Lift/team meeting/video review/speaker
14:30 – Bus departs for the boathouse
14:45 – Second practice
18:00 – Bus departs for University of Pennsylvania
18:30 – Dinner
21:00 – Bed

Practice Sessions

Training during camp will not only include twice daily workouts and on-the-water instruction, but also classroom sessions. Our goal is to create a competitive environment where the athletes are challenged on a daily basis to excel. The athletes will train at a high level and be expected to adapt and learn quickly. Athletes can expect 10-12 water sessions per week, periodic video review, training on the erg, and/or strength training.

Athlete Leadership Development Program

This year, Penn AC will be partnering with Temple University’s School of Sport, Tourism and Hospitality Management and its Sport Industry Research Center to offer high-level athlete leadership development programming. Weekly programming will include:

1. Mental Toughness for Athletes
2. Positively Managing Change
3. Imagery in Sport – Preparation for Race Day
4. Learn from Me – A Panel Presentation of National Team Alumni
5. Navigating College Admissions and Recruiting

Each session will be staffed by a professional facilitator and all course materials are included in the camp fee.

Eligible Athletes

Penn AC accepts U19 and U17 rowers as well as lightweight rowers. We strive to achieve a roster of 28 males rowers, 28 female rowers, and 8-10 coxswains, and our goal is to put together the most competitive group of athletes possible. We do not limit our roster to a specific number of U19 or U17 rowers.

U19 Rowers & Coxswains: High school rowers born in the year 2002 or after who have at least 1 to 2 years of rowing or sculling experience. Novices who are upperclassmen are encouraged to apply. A rower can compete in the U19 category through December 31st of the year of their 18th birthday. If you turn 19 in 2020, you are not eligible.
U17 Rowers & Coxswains: High school rowers born in the year 2004 or after who have at least 1 year of sweep and sculling experience. A rower can compete in the U17 category through December 31st of the year of the their 16th birthday. If you turn 17 in 2020, you are not eligible.

Team Selection

At Penn AC, we have a tradition of winning for over a century. Since the club’s first recorded victory in the pair oared cup race of the 1882 Schuylkill Navy Regatta, it has continued to plaster its walls with plaques, pennants, and banners, testimonies to its success. Today, we perpetuate this legacy with both national and international victories. Over the years, Penn AC has given birth to dozens of US National Team and Olympic oarsmen. Currently, no fewer than 20 elite level athletes are training out of Penn AC. A Men’s 4x and Women’s Lightweight 4x, training out of Penn AC, represented the US at the World Championships in 2017, a Men’s 4x training out of the Club represented the US at the World Championships in 2018, and both the Men’s 4x and Men’s 2x training out of the Club represented the US at the World Championships in 2019.

Simply put, we are looking for young men and women who want to be the best. Penn AC Gold is a high level camp with limited spots available. The selection process is competitive and we will use the following criteria to guide our invitation and selection process. Lightweight rowers are encouraged to apply!
1. Erg Testing
2. Race Results
3. Technique
4. Coach’s Recommendations
5. Physiological Characteristics (height and weight)
6. Age (the roster will be comprised of both U19 and U17 athletes)

Coaching Recommendations

Athlete’s are encouraged to provide a recommendation from their current coach. Recommendations should be emailed to the Director of Programs (, before the close of registration on April 20, 2020.


Rowers are encouraged to provide video and coxswains are encouraged to provide audio/video recordings of practices/races. Files should be shared via links to a shared folder in services such as Google Drive, OneDrive, etc. YouTube is another great way to share these files. Links to and location of files should be emailed to the Director of Programs (

Important Performance Thresholds

The below erg times are recommendations and are not the only measures we will use to invite and select our athletes. We will evaluate you based on several criteria, as indicated in the Team Selection section. If you are close to the standards or have experienced extenuating circumstances, please fee free to reach out to the Head Coach for the respective group to which you are applying.

2k Erg Score
U19 Men: 6:35 or better
U19 Ltwt Men: 6:45 or better
U19 Women: 7:40 or better
U19 Ltwt Women: 7:50 or better
U17 Men: 6:45 or better
U17 Ltwt Men: 7:00 or better
U17 Women: 7:50 or better
U17 Ltwt Women: 8:00 or better

Program Cost

Program costs vary depending on whether you are a Visiting Athlete that lives in the housing provided at the University of Pennsylvania during camp, or a Local Athlete that will not. For ALL athletes, coaching, regatta travel expenses (housing, food, transportation), apparel, regatta entry fees, leadership seminars, outings, and facility costs are included. For Visiting athletes, full room and board and transportation to and from practice are also included in the your cost. Full room and board and transportation to and from practices are NOT provided for Local Athletes. You are responsible to secure your own housing & food during camp and transportation to and from practice on a daily basis. Local Athletes do have the option to purchase lunches at the University of Pennsylvania cafeteria for an additional fee of $300. This provides you the opportunity to each lunch with your teammates and coaches and spend the afternoon resting and visiting in the dorms between practices.

Program Cost Visiting Athletes Local Athletes
Total $6900 (room & board included) $4400 (room & board not included)
Down Payment (due by May 11, 2020) $1500 (non-refundable) $1500 (non-refundable)
Remainder (due by June 1, 2020) $5400 $2900

Online Applications

Applications opened November 25, 2019 and close on April 20, 2020. Spots are limited and applicants will be evaluated on a rolling basis until all roster spots are filled. The final roster will be set no later than May 4th, 2020.