Penn AC Gold Summer Program

 Sabina Pierce

Junior Program Details

Penn AC Gold is a high performance summer rowing camp. Our goal is to promote learning, teamwork, and competition by providing education and expecting excellence daily. We will provide you with the opportunity to challenge yourself mentally and physically in many areas – technique, fitness, discipline, independence, and teamwork. 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: 2023

Practice starts on June 18th, but all athletes living in the housing provided during the camp must arrive in Philadelphia on June 17th by 6:00 PM. Our final regatta will be the USRowing Youth Summer National Championships held on Hasha Lake in Batavia, OH. Racing is tentatively planned to end on Sunday, July 16th. All rowers should be picked up by their parents either at the racecourse after racing ends on July 16th or fly home from the nearest airport, Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport (CVG), the evening of July 16th. Transportation will be provided to the airport.

Junior Coaching Staff

Program Leader:Grace Trujillo

Director of Penn AC Gold - Paul Coomes
Men's Staff
Head Coach – Junior Men/Recruiting Co-coordinator: Will Scully
Assistant Coach: Kristin Propst
Assistant Coach: Jacob Filby
Program Leader: Seth Moyer
Women's Staff
Head Coach – Junior Women/Recruiting Coordinator: Sarah Low
Assistant Coach: Bailey Chick
Assistant Coach: Ciara O'Sullivan
Program Leader: Grace Trujillo
Additional Staff
Coxswain Coach: Coral Kasden

Daily Schedule

Penn AC Gold offers a comprehensive program which includes 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 housing
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 housing
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 daily 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 geared to meet the needs of this year’s group. Weekly programming has in the past included a combination of the below topics which will be designed to enhance the skillset of today’s athletes:

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
6. Sports Nutrition to Power Your Performance

Any of the above sessions will be staffed by a professional facilitator and all course materials are included in the camp fee.

Eligible Athletes

Penn AC accepts Youth and U17/U16 rowers as well as lightweight rowers. If you are a graduating senior in 2023, you are still eligible for our camp, even if you turn 19 in 2023. 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 Youth or U17 rowers and do evaluate expanding our roster size each year based on the size and quality of the applicant pool. In 2022, we accepted 62 rowers and 11 coxswains.

Youth Rowers & Coxswains: A Youth is a competitor who in the current calendar year does not attain the age of 19, or who is and has been continuously enrolled in a secondary school as a full-time student seeking a diploma. A Competitor thus ceases to be a Youth after December 31 of the year of his or her 18th birthday, or of the year in which he or she completes the 12th grade of secondary school, having been a full-time student, whichever is later
U17 Rowers & Coxswains: High school rowers born in the year 2007 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 2023, you are not eligible to compete in the U17 category, but you are eligible to compete as a Youth athlete.

Team Selection

Since the club’s first recorded victory in the pair oared cup race of the 1882 Schuylkill Navy Regatta, Penn AC has prided itself on its winning tradition and has continued to amass on its walls, plaques, pennants, and banners - testimonies to its success. Today, we carry on 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 15 elite level athletes are training out of the club. A Men’s 4x and Women’s Lightweight 4x from Penn AC represented the US at the World Championships in 2017, a Men’s 4x represented the US at the World Championships in 2018, and both the Men’s 4x and Men’s 2x represented the US at the World Championships in 2019. In 2021, Penn AC won Olympic trials in the Men’s 4x and raced at the Final Olympic Qualification Regatta in Lucerne to qualify the boat for the Tokyo Olympics.  Today, Penn AC is designated a USRowing High Performance Partner Club and will continue working in partnership with USRowing to develop athletes for international competition and the Paris 2024 Olympics. With the rebirth of our U23 racing team in 2021, Penn AC Gold athletes can and are encouraged to come back to the club in future summers while in college and train with aspiring national team athletes from all over the US.

Simply put, we are looking for young men and women who want to be the best. Penn AC Gold is a high-performance 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

Rowers are encouraged to provide a coach’s recommendation. It is a great way to provide insight into your work ethic, race ability, and other intangible characteristics that are often critical to success. Please have your coach email your recommendation directly to the Director of Penn AC Gold.  (


Rowers are encouraged to provide video and coxswains are encouraged to provide audio/video recordings of practices/races. Files should be shared via link 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 Penn AC Gold. (

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 feel free to reach out to the Head Coach for the respective group to which you are applying.

2k Erg Score
Youth Men: 6:35 or better
Youth Ltwt Men: 6:45 or better
Youth Women: 7:40 or better
Youth 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 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 your cost. Full room and board and transportation to and from the boathouse each day are NOT provided for local athletes, but you will be provided lunch each day and will be provided transportation to and from where our visiting athletes are staying to rest and relax between practices.  This provides you the opportunity to eat lunch with your teammates and coaches and spend the afternoon resting and socializing between practices.

Program Cost Visiting Athletes Local Athletes
Total $7,250 (room & board included) $4,625 (room & board not included)
Down Payment (due by May 10, 2023) $1500 (non-refundable)* $1500 (non-refundable)*
Remainder (due by May 31, 2023) $5,750 $3,125

*If camp must be canceled due to COVID-19 restrictions, the deposit becomes fully refundable minus any credit card processing fees

Online Applications

Applications open December 1st, 2022 and close on April 26th, 2023. Spots are limited, so apply early to secure your summer camp experience. Applications are reviewed upon receipt and accepted on a rolling basis until all spots are filled. The final roster will be set no later than May 1st, 2023.