Established in 1871, the Pennsylvania Athletic Club Rowing Association was established to stimulate and foster interest in the sport of rowing among amateurs as individuals and in clubs, Colleges, Schools, and Industries. To educate all persons particularly children in the sport of rowing. To promote interest through competition and the holding of regattas. To promote successful competitions by American rowers in International events including but not limited to the Olympics, the World Championships and the Pan American Games. To use every reasonable endeavor for the advancement and upbuilding of amateur rowing in accordance with the best traditions of sportsmanship.
Over the years, Penn AC has undergone many changes since its roots on the other side of the Schuylkill as the West Philadelphia Boat Club. Nonetheless, our core traditions have stayed the same. 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 United States National Team oarsmen. Currently, no fewer than twenty National Team members spent time in either their past or present training and racing for Penn AC.
With a history of accepting all who want to pull an oar, Penn AC has space for anyone with dedication and drive. Never turning a willing rower away, Penn AC derives its strength from the motivation of its members. When a the growth of the club demanded a new boat bay, it was its own, currently training members that took to laying the concrete foundation and entire construction. Penn AC was literally built from within. Our motivation may be what drives us personally to pursue rowing, but it is also the common denominator that lays the steadfast foundation for our proud club.
A club once notorious for its members’ inclination to swim off the west bank of the lower Schuylkill still finds its members maintaining the tradition from its current location in Boathouse Row. Consequently, it is no surprise why the keystones of our predecessors – drive, dedication, and a taste for victory – were also passed down to us and serve as the bond that makes us stronger.
If you want to put some time behind the weight of an oar, Penn AC will provide you with one.