Paul Coomes - Director of Penn AC Gold
Paul's journey in rowing started 33 years ago, where he and 14 other students helped start up a small club rowing program at the University of Dayton. His 3+ years of rowing at Dayton could be termed forgettable in terms of results on the water, but his biggest victory came in helping to build a sustainable rowing program that was both competitive and respected not only within the rowing community but also by the University. When he graduated, he volunteered to coach Dayton’s men’s team and discovered his true passion in life – coaching. For three years, he led a Dayton men’s rowing team that experienced significant growth and improved results.
A move to Philadelphia in the fall of 1998 and a chance encounter led to Paul being hired as the Head Coach for Conestoga High School’s yet-to-be-started rowing team. While he had no experience coaching junior athletes, he was excited to have the opportunity to build a new program in what he considers to be rowing nirvana, Philadelphia and Boathouse Row. During his 18 years coaching Conestoga, he built the Club into one of the most respected rowing organizations in the region and the team into a scholastic sculling powerhouse, coaching crews to 21 Stotesbury Cup titles, 25 Scholastic National Championships and multiple gold, silver, and bronze medals at the USRowing Youth National Championships. He was named the 2007 Schuylkill Navy Coach of the Year, the 2014 American Junior Coaching Conference Girls Sculling Coach of the Year, and in what he considers to be the highlight of his coaching career, his girls 4x won the Schools/Junior 4x at the 2006 Women’s Henley Regatta.
His summers and falls as Conestoga’s coach were spent helping his wife start and grow PA Rowing Camps, a summer program dedicated to teaching adults and juniors to row, as well as coaching crews of various levels for several clubs along Boathouse Row, including Penn AC, Undine Barge Club, Bachelors Barge Club, and Crescent Boat Club. Numerous crews under his guidance found success at the junior, intermediate, senior, and elite level. He served as the coach for the US Lightweight Men’s 1x at the 2009 World Championships in Poland. While at Undine, the Club won the Colgan Cup and the Marion D. Ventura Women’s Points Trophy in 2001. His crews also won the Head of the Charles in 2000, 2001, and 2003, the Canadian Henley in 2002 and multiple Club National Championships between 2000 and 2003.
Paul is a degreed engineer and when not involved in the sport of rowing has worked in various professional roles, including project management, product development and innovation management. Paul resides in the East Falls section of Philadelphia with his wife, Amy Giddings, and their three children.
Will Scully - Junior Men’s Head Coach/Recruiting Coordinator:
Will Scully comes to Penn AC from just down the road in Pottstown, PA at The Hill School, where he is the Head Boys Rowing Coach as well as a dorm parent and instructor of physics and mathematics.
Will began his rowing career in 2008 as a junior at Simsbury High School in Simsbury, CT. After graduating high school, Will continued his rowing career at Trinity College, in Hartford CT, where he won two New England Championships and one ECAC Championship, and helped Trinity secure the New England’s Points Trophy three years in a row. After his junior year, he was part of a crew that competed at the Henley Royal Regatta and was elected captain for his senior year.
Following his graduation, Will came to Philadelphia to continue rowing for the U23 program at Penn AC, and represented them at U23 Trials, Club Nationals and Canadian Henley. In search of more rowing and adventure, Will moved to Sydney, Australia, where he joined Mosman Rowing Club and trained with members of the Australian U23 and Senior National teams. He competed at the Sydney International Rowing Regatta, earning himself a finals spot in the Open 4x and Open 2x.
Upon returning home, Will took on volunteer coaching positions at Simsbury High School and Trinity, and served as the JV coach at Middletown High School until moving to The Hill School in 2016. Under Will, the Hill boys won the 2018 Stotesbury Cup Junior 4+ event and finished 4th in the 2019 Senior 4+.
Graham Ludmer - Junior Men's Assistant Coach
Graham Ludmer comes to Penn AC from Indiana University where he is currently both the rigger and an Assistant Coach for Women’s Rowing. Originally from Chicago, IL, he grew up with four siblings and played soccer, wrestled, and ran track in high school. His rowing journey started at Purdue University as a coxswain, and his coaching career includes stops in Australia, where he was the Head Coach of the Bairnsdale Rowing Club, The College of William and Mary, where he was the Program Director and Head Coach, and Williamsburg Boat Club where he founded the rowing club and was the Head Junior Coach.
“I could not be more excited to work with such a tremendous staff and talented group of athletes at Penn AC this summer," Ludmer says. "I love being in a position where I can pay forward the lessons I have learned, and use this sport to help athletes grow physically, mentally, and emotionally.”
Grace Trujillo - Junior Men's Assistant Coach
Grace joins the Penn AC Gold staff for her second summer, her first as an Assistant Coach for the Junior Men. Grace coaches full time at the University of Tulsa as an Assistant Coach for Women’s Rowing. Before her first summer as a Program Leader for Penn AC Gold in 2023, Grace interned for two summers with US Rowing’s U19 High Performance Junior Camp while also coaching at Atlanta Junior Rowing Association.
Grace recently graduated from Washington State University (WSU), Cum Laude, earning a B.S. in Kinesiology in the summer of 2023. There, she was also a member of the Women’s Rowing Team where she spent her final season in the 1st Varsity 8+ as well as racing at the Canadian National Championships in the 2-. Before WSU, Grace started her first two years of collegiate rowing in 2018 at the University of Central Florida and eventually transferred to WSU in 2021. She learned to row at Lake Lanier Rowing Club in Gainesville, GA.
Since graduating from university, Grace spends her free time cycling and playing with her dog.
Sarah Low - Junior Women’s Head Coach/Recruiting Coordinator
Sarah Low returns for her third summer with Penn AC Gold. She is the Executive Director of Sammamish Rowing Association, based in Redmond, Washington. She joined SRA in December 2023, bringing over 15 years of coaching and administrative experience to the program. Previously, Sarah was the Executive Director and Women’s Head Coach for the Atlanta Junior Rowing Association. During her seven years at the helm of Atlanta Juniors, the club sent 33 boats to the USRowing Youth National Championships, consistently qualified men’s and women’s boats for the Head of the Charles, and remains one of the top rowing programs in the Southeast.
Sarah has led Penn AC Gold as the Head Women's Coach the past two summers, building teams that have brought home several medals and grand finals appearances at USRowing Summer Nationals, and in 2022 the team points trophy at Independence Day Regatta. She previously worked with the USRowing Junior National Team women’s coaching staff, most recently as Assistant Camp Director at ODP 2021, and with the Southeast Women for several Youth Regional Challenges. Sarah is a graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and the University of Washington, and earned her USRowing Level III certification in 2019.
Bailey Chick - Junior Women's Assistant Coach
Bailey is the Head Coach of North Allegheny Rowing Association in Pittsburgh PA. Bailey’s coaching philosophy is rooted in community building and reflective practices for each athlete. It is her experience that from this foundation athletes can work toward both personal and team success. Some highlights from her time at NA have included podium finishes at SRAAs, Midwest Scholastic Rowing Championships, The Stotesbury Cup, Head of the Hooch, Head of The Ohio, and the Head of the Schuylkill.
Bailey began rowing as a walk-on novice at Temple University in 2006, she has rowed for several programs along Boathouse Row. She holds an MFA from the University of Delaware, and a BA from Temple University’s Tyler School of Art & Architecture. She has exhibited her work nationally and internationally and is currently Adjunct Faculty at Carlow University. She also serves on the Midwest Scholastic Rowing Association Board as the Chair of Coaching Development and Social Media.
Sierra Williams - Junior Women's Assistant Coach
Sierra began rowing in 2012 at Mount Baker Crew in Seattle, WA. She competitively swam and played basketball before beginning her rowing journey. After 5 years of rowing for Mount Baker, she began rowing for the University of Washington in 2018, earning spots on the 2019 Pac 12 and NCAA champion women’s team. During her time as an athlete at the University of Washington, she was selected to coach the Washington Women’s Pairs camps over two summers.
Following the 2020 pandemic, she stepped away from competition and began coaching for Pocock Rowing Club for a winter and fall seasons. Following the completion of her studies which culminated in a Geography and Urban Planning degree, she began coaching for Seattle Preparatory School.
In her first full year coaching she led the U17 men's 4x as well as assisted in coaching the programs U19 men and women’s 4x and U19 men and women’s U19 4- in their 2023 Youth Rowing National Championships campaign.
Anne Horton - Program Leader
Anne is so excited for her first summer with PennAC Gold! She started rowing in the winter of 2017 at Riverfront Recapture in Hartford and decided to just go down the Connecticut River to continue her rowing career in college. She graduates in May from Wesleyan with a B.A. in Neuroscience and Behavior and Science in Society. While at Wesleyan, she's twice an NCAA medalist (bronze in the 2V8+ in 2021 and silver in the 1V8+ 2023), and we will see what 2024 has in store!
She spent the summer of 2023 working at Sparks BU and rowing with PennAC in the U23 program, so she is excited to return to Philly again this year! When she is not rowing, she loves to go for long walks, read, do yoga, and practice meditation and mindfulness.
Coral Kasden - Coxswain Coach
Coral Kasden is returning for her 4th summer as the coxswain coach with Penn AC Gold. She was previously the coxswain coach for the University of Virginia women’s team and the University of California, Santa Barbara men’s and women’s teams.
Coral is a 2023 World Champion with Team USA from the World Rowing Beach Sprint Finals in the mixed coxed quad. She was in selection for the US women’s 8+ in 2021, driving them to semi-finalists at Henley Royal Regatta in the Remenham Challenge. She made the 2019 U.S. Pan American Team as the men’s 8 coxswain and was the first female to race internationally for the U.S. men’s senior team. Coral has been a New York Athletic Club athlete for the past 10 years after graduating university, where she had started her coxing career as a walk-on rower for the UC Santa Barbara women’s club team. She switched to coxing for the men, working up into the V8. She still competes as both a coxswain and a lightweight rower in both regular rowing and coastal.
Aside from rowing, Coral is currently finishing her PhD in gene therapy for Duchenne muscular dystrophy at the University of Pennsylvania. She has also been an avid lifter and is training to break 300 lb. on her deadlift.