penn ac Rowing Association Mon, 07 Aug 2017 15:32:56 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Penn AC’s Genyk and Wolford Medal at 2017 Maccabiah Games Mon, 07 Aug 2017 12:11:41 +0000 Genyk (left) and Wolford (fourth from left) at 2017 Maccabiah Games. Genyk (left) and Wolford (fourth from left) at 2017 Maccabiah Games.

Penn AC’s ...]]> Genyk (left) and Wolford (fourth from left) at 2017 Maccabiah Games.

Genyk (left) and Wolford (fourth from left) at 2017 Maccabiah Games.

Penn AC’s Ethan Genyk and Brooke Wolford medaled in four events each during a jam-packed week at the Maccabiah Games, held July 4-18 in Israel. The duo teamed up with rowers from across the country to represent the U.S. in multiple sweep and sculling events. They raced on the Sea of Galilee, a fresh water lake in Israel, and navigated extreme heat, wind and logistical challenges while earning their podium finishes.

“Racing was awesome!” said Wolford. “Some of our biggest competition was Israel and Russia. We had to be really meticulous with how we raced since the men and women were using the same boats for many of the races.”

“For example,” she explained, “the women and men had pairs races and doubles races one morning. We had to make transitions with the boats as quickly as possible without any mistakes. Also, we had to adapt to over 100 degree weather and windy conditions on the racecourse.”

Genyk, a Philadelphia native and rising senior at the University of Pennsylvania, teamed up with Noah Chaskin (Schenectady, N.Y.; United States Naval Academy) in the men’s pair and men’s double sculls to earn two silver medals for the United States. Genyk and Chaskin were then joined by Josh Kuppersmith (Glencoe, Ill.; Harvard University) and David Wexner (Columbus, Ohio; Harvard University) in the men’s four and men’s quadruple sculls. Both boats crossed the line third, earning bronze medal finishes to add to the count.

“We had a great race in the pair for bronze and same thing with the double,” said Genyk. “We were way overmatched in the quad. We raced against Israeli national teamers including Danny Fridman who got ninth in the single at World Cup III.“

“The four we should have won,” he continued. “We were up by about a length over Israel at about 250m in but then our steering broke midway through. We couldn’t go straight, moved over like five lanes and just lost by 0.6 seconds.”

Wolford (Santa Rosa, Calif.; University of Central Oklahoma), who started training with Penn AC’s High Performance Group in November 2016, earned bronze in the women’s double sculls and gold in the women’s pair, women’s four and women’s quadruple sculls. She teamed up with Ilana Zieff (Boston, Mass.; Riverside Boat Club) in the double and Samantha Kolvson (Wayland, Mass.; University of Massachusetts) in the pair. Chloe Fishman (Palo Alto, Calif.; Georgetown University) joined the three women in the four, contributing to the podium finishes for the United States.

“I think the Maccabiah Games were a great stepping stone to getting experience in racing in many different boats, specifically sculling boats,” said Wolford. “I know I gained knowledge about myself and how to travel and race successfully. It was also nice to get to row with other people and in many different positions in the boat… I stroked the quad and bowed the four,” she said.

In terms of the highlight of the Games, Wolford said that she doesn’t think she can pick out just one and that the trip was much more than just a competition.

“It had a ton of meaning about being Jewish, whether you think of yourself as super religious or take more cultural meaning from the word… It was amazing to bring home three gold medals and a bronze but, in the end, a huge highlight has been staying connected to my fellow Jewish rowers across the world… seeing where they are in their training and hearing about their individual goals.”

For Genyk, the highlight of the Games was the opening ceremony in Jerusalem.

“The opening ceremonies were almost exactly like the Olympics, with each country’s delegation marching in – very cool,” he said. “We got to walk in representing the United States and it was just an unbelievable moment.”

Learn more about the Maccabiah Games and see results from the 2017 event HERE.

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Penn AC Dominates Men’s Team Boats at Club Nationals Thu, 03 Aug 2017 11:57:58 +0000 Penn AC at Club National ChampionshipsPenn AC dominated the podium in the men’s elite/senior double sculls and elite/senior quadruple sculls at the ...]]> Penn AC at Club National ChampionshipsPenn AC dominated the podium in the men’s elite/senior double sculls and elite/senior quadruple sculls at the 2017 USRowing Club National Championships. The team set the tone in the quads finishing one-two on the first day of finals at Harsha Lake. It followed suit in the doubles, finishing one-two and three to solidify its strength in the team boat events.

Overall, athletes from Penn AC’s High Performance Group, Under 23 Team and Junior Gold Program combined forces to earn 13 medals including seven gold for a solid mid-season showing.

On Friday, the crew of Charles Anderson, Chris Shirley, Nathan Lado and James Garay took first in the men’s quad in a time of 6:00.137. Crossing the line in second was Chris Reich, Theo Pritz, Thaddeus Babiec and Erick Winstead in 6:04.017. The New York Athletic Club finished third in 6:05.657, with Potomac, Queen City and OKC’s High Performance Center rounding out the top six.

On Sunday, on the heels of a day to regroup, the two men’s quads went to work in the doubles. Shirley and Garay grabbed the win in 6:28.213; Lado and Anderson took second in 6:30.096. Longtime racing partners David Judah and Nick Goode (Vesper Boat Club) crossed the line in third in 6:36.151, with Babiec and Reich finishing fifth in 6:50.763.

“We were please with the results,” said Garay. “The elite quad and double finals were good pieces. Nate and Chuck put a big spot on us in the double earlier in the year, and we were excited to line-up with them because we felt like we had a lot to prove.”

“The quad hadn’t spent a whole lot of time together,” he continued. “It was nice to see that we could handle being down off the start, stay composed and still take care of business.”

“I couldn’t be happier about my performance in the double,” said Shirley. “James and I aren’t quite sure how it works, but it does. When he says it’s time to go… well, that’s exactly what we do.”

Before earning bragging rights in the men’s elite/senior double and quad, Shirley and Garay grabbed the title in the men’s intermediate double as well. Under-23 athletes Mark Couwenhoven and A. Williams took fourth in the event, well ahead of crews from Steel City and Foundry rowing clubs.

Penn AC’s lightweight men found success in the double sculls as well, and also left a mark in the intermediate and elite/senior single events. On Friday, Mike Orzolek teamed up with Undine Barge Club’s F. Berger to win the men’s elite/senior lightweight double in 6:42.563. Under-23 athletes, Jasper Liu, Couwenhoven and Maxwell Amsterdam then went first, third and fifth in the men’s intermediate lightweight single. Liu’s winning time was 7:11.612.

On Sunday, Liu backed up the win with a solid second-place finish in the men’s elite/senior lightweight single in a time of 7:16.991. Orzolek finished fourth in a time of 7:19.942.

“It’s good to see that our work in team boats is paying off,” said Winstead, captain of the High Performance Group. “We expect these results as a group. They help us build confidence that we can capitalize on going forward.”

“The High Performance Group got off to a rocky start [at Club Nationals],” he continued, “but I’m proud of how we responded. We ended the week on a high note in multiple events. I also noticed some solid performances from our U23 group and juniors. The U23 guys have been practicing alongside the HPG all summer, and I think that helped them raise their level going into Club Nats. We will strive to have a more dominant presence across the board next year.”

On the women’s side, High Performance Group athlete Mary Mosier grabbed the win in the elite/senior lightweight single in 8:15.486. Mosier then finished fourth in the intermediate lightweight single in a large field of 33 scullers.

“This was not only my first win in a senior event at Club Nationals but also my first win ever in the single!” said Mosier. “It obviously always feels great to come out with a win, but this was the first time I got to experience doing it on my own.”

“For me, this summer has very much been focused on the single,” Mosier continued. “I’ve been working on my weaknesses and trying to improve where needed. Club Nationals was a chance to show what I’ve been working on. I plan to continue to build on that into next year.”

The lightweight women in the Junior Gold Program earned two top-six finishes as well. The crew of Haleigh Prindle, Maddie Maier, Betty Hosler, Crystal Navellier and Ashley Kim (coxswain) finished first in the intermediate lightweight four in 7:39.081. Teammates Anastasia Ray, Monica Rodriguez, Sarah Flower, Izzy Begley and Lauren Pollock (coxswain) finished fourth in the event in 7:57.309.

Other Junior Gold crews that earned spots in the A Finals were the men’s U19 four and women’s U17 eight. The men’s four of Mark Rotering, Parker Lough, Lucian Polk, Kevin Mead and William Laclerc (coxswain) worked its way through heats and semifinals, finishing sixth in a field of 48! The women’s U17 eight also picked up a sixth place finish. The crew included Hosler, Begley, Gianna Jarmain, Kate Picray, Lily Mersky, Kelly FitzSimons, Megan Guido, Olivia Coffey and Christina Labella (coxswain).

Compete results from the week can be found HERE.

Up next: Athletes from Penn AC’s High Performance Group and Under 23 Team will compete in Royal Canadian Henley, Aug. 6-13 in St. Catherine’s, Ontario.

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Penn AC Competes at Holland Beker and World Cup III Fri, 28 Jul 2017 15:48:37 +0000 Schuylkill Navy HPC athletes at the Oberschleißheim Regatta Course in Germany.

Schuylkill Navy HPC athletes at ...]]> Schuylkill Navy HPC athletes at the Oberschleißheim Regatta Course in Germany.

Schuylkill Navy HPC athletes at the Oberschleißheim Regatta Course in Germany.

Nine athletes from Penn AC’s High Performance Group travelled to Europe to compete as part of the Schuylkill Navy High Performance Collaborative (SNHPC). Boats representing the Collaborative included a lightweight women’s quad, and men’s open single, double and quad. The squad, led by Sean Hall, Head Coach of Penn AC’s High Performance Group, kicked off the trip in Amsterdam where it raced Holland Beker—the biggest international regatta in The Netherlands.

On the women’s side, the crew of Kathryn Schiro (Huntsville, Ala.; Oklahoma City University), Cara Stawicki (Wall, N.J.; Lehigh University), Kristen Propst (Honesdale, Pa.; Lafayette College) and Jen Sager (Glenside, Pa.; Trinity College) clocked 6:38.66 in the A Final on Day One of the two-day event, finishing second behind Great Britain. On Day Two, the crew raced in windy conditions and clocked an almost identical time of 6:38.44, finishing third in the A Final behind Great Britain (1st) and The Netherlands (2nd).

“Every race we learned a lot in terms of how to conduct ourselves around the course, during the race and after the race. Every race we got faster and felt more together,” said Sager, who recently completed a year of study at Oxford Brookes University in England. “For me, I got to race against friends of mine who row for [Great Britain] so to actually get the chance to see them and then go head-to-head was awesome.”

On the men’s side, Penn AC’s Greg Ansolabehere (Bakersfield, Calif.; California State University, Sacramento) and Justin Keen (Hatfield, Pa.; Penn State University) teamed up with Malta Boat Club’s Lenny Futterman (New York, N.Y.; Boston University) and Vesper Boat Club’s JP Kirkegaard (DeForest, Wis.; Purdue University) in the quad. The crew clocked 5:44.40 in the A Final on Day One, finishing second behind Leander Club of Great Britain. On Day Two, racing in tailwind conditions similar to Day One, the crew crossed the line in 5:43.47, finishing third in the A Final behind The Netherlands (1st) and Leander Club (2nd).

Erik Frid (Madbury, N.H.; Ithaca College) and Luke Wilhelm (Miranda, Calif.; University of California, Santa Barbara), winners at NSR2 in May, went back to work in the men’s double, testing their speed for the first time abroad. Similar to the men’s and lightweight women’s quads, the double raced two separate events—one Saturday and one Sunday. On Saturday, the crew finished third in its heat to advance to the A Final, where it placed fifth in a time of 6:29.56. On Sunday, the crew started the day strong with a win in its heat and third fastest time overall. It closed out the weekend placing fourth in the A Final in a time of 6:26.78, an improvement on the result from the previous day.

“Amsterdam was a rough experience, jumping off the plane and strapping in,” said Wilhelm. “It was a classic scenario where we could easily make a lot of excuses about new equipment, adjusting to the time difference, windy conditions, finding food that we would want to eat, etc. But the reality is that we need to learn how to race whenever we’re asked to line ‘em up.”

“The goal should be that anytime I sit at the start, I can be competitive,” he continued. “With that lesson, when we lined-up in Lucerne, we were more ready to race.”

Racing the men’s single, Will Purman (Boston, Mass.; University of Delaware) worked his way through heats and repechages on Saturday before taking fourth in the C Final on Sunday for a 14th place finish overall.

With racing on the Bosbaan complete, the team packed up and made it’s way to the Oberschleißheim Regatta Course – the site of the 1972 Olympics – in a town nearby Munich, Germany. In Germany, the lightweight women were primarily focused on improving technique and gaining boat speed while the men were preparing for World Cup III in Lucerne.

“First of all, the course was awesome,” said Sager. “The water was perfect and crystal clear. Secondly, it was just nice to be away from outside job pressures and in training bubble for a week. Instead of feeling pressure to rush from training to the office, rowing was 100 percent my job and my focus. It was also just fun to take our time finding speed and getting to jump in the lake and cool off after training,” she said.

“At this level, it’s all about gaining international racing experience and rehearsing your race routine,” said Ansolabehere.” The SN HPC trip to Europe was essential in building that experience. Lining up next to international crews, living in a foreign country and adapting your training to suit isn’t something we can recreate here, so traveling and living that experience was invaluable.”

At the close of the week in Munich, the lightweight women’s quad returned home to recover and prepare for selection camp for the boat racing World Championship Trials in August. The men travelled to Lucerne, Switzerland, where they lined up against a stronger field of international crews at World Cup III. The men’s quad placed fifth in the B Final with a time of 6:03. The men’s double placed third in the C Final with a time of 6:31. Will Purman, competing for Puerto Rico, placed 2nd in the E Final in the men’s single with a time of 7:16.

“When we lined up in Lucerne, we were more ready to race [compared to Amsterdam],” said Wilhelm. “The difference was that at the World Cup, there is some strategy to be used to navigate through the progression. Obviously we want to go out and race our fastest every time down the course, but that takes a huge toll when racing the best.”

“I think rowing is one of those brutally honest sports where it just comes down to how fast you are,” he added. “We need to get fitter and faster. Boat speed is king and while Erik and I are pretty strong guys, we need to find a way to make the boat go faster.”

“My biggest take-a-way from this experience was that we need to look at our development in terms of the big picture and relentlessly hone our training,” said Ansolabehere. “Men’s sculling in the US might not have the same resources at its disposal as other more accomplished countries in the sport but we have the same type talented and driven athletes who want nothing more than to represent their country at the highest level. Competing on an international stage put things into perspective and made me want to become a better athlete. The bar has been raised, now we must respond.”

“This training and racing opportunity is a step in the right direction,” he added. “The Schuylkill Navy showed great foresight and faith in us when it decided to make this trip possible. The only way to get international racing experience is to do it! The Schuylkill Navy is helping us start the quadrennial right and for that I am very grateful.”

Sager shared the sentiment.

“It was an awesome experience!” she said. “I am just incredibly grateful to have been given the opportunity and support from Penn AC and the Schuylkill Navy this summer. Our eyes are set on racing World Championships. Having this opportunity gave us a check of where we are and where we need to be that we might not have had in the States.”

For personal accounts of the Schuylkill Navy HPC’s trip to Europe, check out “No Wasted Water” by Cara Stawicki and “Schuylkill Navy’s Erik Frid Prepares for World Cup III,” by Erik Frid.

Complete results for Holland Beker can be found HERE. Results for World Cup III found HERE.

Next up are World Championship Trials set for August 6-9 in Princeton Junction, N.J. All crews will compete for the right to represent the United States at the 2017 World Rowing Championships, September 24 – October 1, in Sarasota, Fla.

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Penn AC Hires Paul Coomes as New Director of Programs Tue, 20 Jun 2017 00:38:01 +0000 Penn AC is excited to announce that it has hired Paul Coomes as its first Director of Programs. Coomes joins Penn AC with more than 20 years of experience ...]]> Penn AC is excited to announce that it has hired Paul Coomes as its first Director of Programs. Coomes joins Penn AC with more than 20 years of experience as Head Coach of highly competitive scholastic, collegiate and club rowing programs. In addition, he has an extensive professional background in project management, and product development and management, which lends itself to a unique combined skill set strong in leadership, communication and team building.

As Director of Programs, Coomes will oversee and direct club operations, and develop and operate club programs including Penn AC’s Junior Gold and U23 Summer Rowing Programs. He will work closely with Penn AC’s Board of Stewards, Executive Officers and Head Coach on member and alumni engagement, fundraising and club maintenance. The full-time position is an extension of the part-time Summer Programs Director role that Penn AC has offered in the past.

“Paul is going to be an integral leader for the club,” said Penn AC President, Mike Wherley. “He has the time and expertise to manage club programs professionally, start new programs and take on new projects to improve the club for everyone. He has tons of experience working at various clubs on Boathouse Row and he understands the challenges of running a club. He also has the right mentality to be patient when he needs to and to really listen.”

“I think Paul will bring an organizational stability and professionalism that we will need as we move forward with our programs and with the facilities,” said Sean Hall, Head Coach of Penn AC’s High Performance Group. “He’s been on the Row for 20 years so he’s hit the ground running. I’m looking forward to getting to work with him on larger, longer-term projects at the conclusion of the summer junior rowing program.”

Coomes’ extensive head coaching experience started in 1995 when he helped found the rowing program at the University of Dayton in Dayton, OH. He coached the men’s varsity, junior varsity and novice athletes during the team’s nascent years, and ultimately helped establish a competitive and respected program that continues to thrive today.

In 1998, Coomes moved to Philadelphia where he established himself as one of the most successful scholastic rowing coaches in the country. From 1998 to 2015, he served as Head Coach of Conestoga Crew Club where he led the team to 21 Stotesbury Cup Championships, 25 Scholastic National Championships, more than 75 Philadelphia City Championships and multiple USRowing Mid-Atlantic Regional Championships.

In addition, under Coomes’ guidance, Conestoga won the Girls Junior 4x at Henley Women’s Regatta in 2006—the first junior USA sculling boat to win an event in the regatta’s history—and the Girls Youth 4x at USRowing Youth National Championships in 2003.

“We are really excited to have someone like Paul, with such great experience creating and leading Conestoga’s very successful high school program for over 17 years, to help drive growth and improvements across all programs at Penn AC,” said Wherley. “He can help us connect better with all our members to make Penn AC a more vibrant community experience for everyone. There are lots of great things happening at the club, and I want everyone to feel that they are a part of each other’s successes.”

On Boathouse Row, Coomes has coached junior, U23, senior and elite scullers at Undine Barge Club (2000-2002), Bachelors Barge Club (2007-2011) and Crescent Boat Club (2016). In addition, he helped found PA Rowing Camps, a summer program dedicated to teaching adults and juniors to row, where he coached junior athletes from 2002 to 2007. Coomes’ wins representing crews from Boathouse Row are numerous and diverse with highlights including Coach of the Lightweight Men’s 1x at Rowing World Championships in 2009 and the Lightweight Men’s 2x that won NSR #1 in 2008.

In recognition of his success, Coomes was honored as the 2014 American Junior Coaching Conference Women’s Sculling Coach of the Year, and the 2007 Schuylkill Navy Coach of the Year. He was also selected to speak at the 2015 USRowing Convention, American Junior Coaching Conference and National Coaching Conference.

“I am really excited to become part of the Penn AC Community and understand how I can make an impact on the club and its members,” said Coomes. “It has been a goal, or more of a dream, of mine to make the sport of rowing my career. When the opportunity opened up to work full-time for one of the best rowing clubs in the country, I had to jump at it.”

“I really felt that my experience in both rowing and coaching, and my professional experience as an engineer and project manager were well-suited to the demands of the job,” he continued. “There is a lot to do to support the current club programs, but finding new opportunities to engage the current and future members is an exciting challenge.”

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Penn AC Earns Top Finishes at Spring Speed Order 1 Mon, 15 May 2017 16:23:45 +0000 Twenty-one athletes from Penn AC’s High Performance Team competed in USRowing’s Spring Speed Order 1 held April 18-21 at Mercer Lake, in West Windsor, NJ. The event marked the ...]]> Twenty-one athletes from Penn AC’s High Performance Team competed in USRowing’s Spring Speed Order 1 held April 18-21 at Mercer Lake, in West Windsor, NJ. The event marked the start of elite racing in the U.S. in 2017, and served as an initial step toward making the U.S. National Team and competing at this year’s World Rowing Championships.

“I had a couple of goals going into this one, particularly on the men’s side,” said Sean Hall, head coach of Penn AC’s High Performance Group. “One: I wanted to get my top guys close or to the top without a lot of race prep, and en masse. The second was that I wanted to create an overwhelming presence… you know, a kind of dominance. I think we adequately achieved both of these.”

“On the light women’s side,” he continued, “I wanted to get at least one performance in the top three, and one or two more in the A Final. We just missed that one but we did come away with the fastest time of the day in the semis.”

The dominance Coach Hall had in mind is evident with one look at the final results. Erik Frid, Lucas Wilhelm and Nathan Lado grabbed 2nd, 4th and 6th place in the Men’s A Final, while Justin Keen, Charles Anderson and Erick Winstead placed 1st, 3rd and 4th in the Men’s B Final. In other words, Penn AC took six of the top 10 spots in the men’s single.

Cara Stawicki and Lauren Klick led the light women with 4th and 6th place finishes in the A Final. Kristen Propst and Mary Mosier grabbed 3rd and 5th in the B Final, earning them 9th and 11th place overall.

When asked about surprising or notable performances, Coach Hall said that there were a few.

“Cara had the fastest time of the day in semis, which I think points to her overall potential to be on top, despite the 4th place finish,” he said. “Meanwhile, Justin missed out on the A Final in a difficult semi when I think he would surely have been top three or four in the final. To be fair, he had some setbacks in the days just before racing but that’s part of the game.”

“Other notable performances would include Nate, who’s been coming on strong lately. As for Erik and Luke… I basically expected those results.”

Frid, on the other hand, was caught by a big surprise when the bolt holding the c-cup [oarlock] to his rigger snapped in half and left him with one oar during the warm-up for the time trial.

“I managed to stay afloat and a race official took me and my boat in [to shore]. I was ready for an array of possibilities—from being disqualified to being let through the time trial. In the end, I rowed at the very end of the time trial, after the lightweights, borrowing Luke Wilhelm’s boat,” he said.

“It’s safe to say that I must have looked like one big lightweight!”

Frid, who won the Prince of Wales Challenge Cup 4x at Royal Henley (racing as part of the Schuylkill Navy High Performance Collaborative) and the Men’s Champ 2x at the Head of the Charles in 2016, said that his goal going into the week was to make the A Final and then give it a go.

“Based on how competitive Luke, Nate and Justin were in practice, I knew that with a wider field, I was going to have to establish some speed in every round of competition,” he said. “I think we had a really good month of training in Florida. Lots of competitive pieces and I felt like it was enough time to establish good technique.”

Hall also said he felt good about the team’s preparation leading into the week and noted that he chose to forego a big taper for this round.

“I told everyone that we were kind of training through this one… I wanted them to see they could perform even when not feeling tip-top. There wasn’t a lot riding on this race,” he said.

In past years, the race, previously called National Selection Regatta 1, afforded the winners of each boat class an opportunity to compete in a World Cup as part of the overall selection process for the national team. The year, the race has no direct impact on national team selection and instead served as an early season opportunity to assess speed.

“As I said, there wasn’t a lot riding on this race other than to see where we stand at this point time,” Hall reiterated. “It’s a long season… This regatta was more about participation in this year’s Schuylkill Navy Collaborative. It had more bearing on being included in that selection pool than for anything related to World’s.”

The collaborative Hall is referring to is a partnership among the various clubs on Boathouse Row meant to give athletes more opportunities to come together and make the fastest boats possible to race abroad. Selection for Schuylkill Navy boats on the men’s side began immediately after Speed Order 1; selection on the women’s side will start after Speed Order 2.

Speed Order 2 will be contested in doubles on May 20-23 at Mercer Lake. Preparation in the bigger boats has already begun, Hall and Frid both noted. The goal, according to Hall, is straightforward: “Basically, we are looking to have another overwhelming presence at a USRowing regatta.”

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Penn AC’s Justin Keen and Sean Hall Win Honors from Schuylkill Navy Sat, 18 Mar 2017 18:57:51 +0000
Hall and Keen with Schuylkill Navy Commodore Paul Horvat

Hall and Keen with Schuylkill Navy ...]]>

Hall and Keen with Schuylkill Navy Commodore Paul Horvat

Hall and Keen with Schuylkill Navy Commodore Paul Horvat           (credit: Sabina Pierce)

Penn AC’s Justin Keen and Sean Hall were honored as 2016 Male Athlete of the Year and 2016 Coach of the Year, respectively, by the Schuylkill Navy at its annual party on March 11th. Over 400 people attended the event, which took place in many of the clubs on Boathouse Row, including Penn AC, where the fireplace was almost as big a celebrity as Keen and Hall on this unseasonably cold March night.

“We are so proud of Justin and Sean, and honored that the Schuylkill Navy chose to recognize them both for such an outstanding 2016!” said Penn AC President Mike Wherley.

JUSTIN KEEN – Male Athlete of the Year

Keen had an incredible 2016. He started the year by finishing 4th in the Men’s 1x at the US Olympic Trials, and he ended the year with wins in the Redgrave Challenge Champ 1x at the Head of the Schuylkill and the Men’s 1x at the US Rowing East Coast Speed Order.

In between, he stroked the Schuylkill Navy HPC Men’s 4x (with Erik Frid, JP Kirkegaard, and Lenny Futterman) that won the Prince of Wales Challenge Cup at the Henley Royal Regatta and he stroked the Penn AC Men’s 2x that won the Champ 2x at the Head of the Charles. Keen also posted wins in the Champ 1x at Canadian Henley and both the 1x and the 2x at the Navy Day Regatta.

“Justin has continued to impress me with his intensity and his results, and I think we’re still just scratching the surface,” said Coach Hall. “He’s setting performance standards that I hope all Penn AC athletes will aspire to.”

The victory in Boston was particularly noteworthy because Keen and teammate Erik Frid beat out several Olympians, including 2016 Olympic 1x Gold Medalist Mahe Drysdale and 2016 Olympic 2x Bronze Medalist Olaf Tufte, who had teamed up in the 2x for this event.

“It’s great to be recognized for all of the time and energy I’ve put into rowing over the past 8 years,” said Keen, “but I’d say this award is even more meaningful to my friends and family.”

Keen started rowing in 2008 at Penn State, and he joined Penn AC in 2012 after graduating from college. His erg score at the time was 6:23, but he has whittled that time down to 5:56 over the years. Keen is yet another example of an athlete that came to Penn AC as a total unknown, but who had the right mental attitude and physical potential to develop into an elite athlete.

Keen has also become a leader in the Philadelphia rowing community. He was a dedicated volunteer in the massive effort to clear the weeds that choked the Schuylkill River last summer.

SEAN HALL – Coach of the Year

When Sean Hall was hired by Penn AC in the fall of 2015, its High Performance Group had just 7 athletes and it was struggling to keep people. But today the group is thriving with 25 men and women, as scullers quickly became aware of the competitive atmosphere that Hall was fostering. He coached all the boats mentioned above, including the Men’s 4x that won last summer at the Henley Royal Regatta.

“Sean has made an enormous impact at both Penn AC and the Schuylkill Navy HPC,” said Wherley. “We knew he had excellent coaching credentials, but the results he achieved in 2016 far exceeded our hopes for that first year.”

Justin Keen and the other athletes have seen the impact on a daily basis. “Sean has been able to take a group of athletes with very diverse backgrounds and perspectives, slowly re-orient them such that everyone is pulling in the same direction, and then build a team momentum that has enabled everyone to reach new levels,” said Keen.

Hall was also tasked with helping to establish the Schuylkill Navy High Performance Collaborative. He began working with athletes and coaches from different clubs in Philadelphia, but also helped draw new athletes to Philadelphia.

“Sean exudes positive energy and maintains a long-term view amidst the ups and downs of training, knowing when to push or back off to maintain a high standard without relying on ego and fear,” said Keen.

“It is clear that Sean’s athletes are getting stronger and faster under his training plan, but the broader benefit to the rowing is that Sean has fully embraced the Schuylkill Navy HPC,” said Wherley, “and now we can rally the entire Boathouse Row community to support these athletes.”

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Penn AC Announces U19 Coaches Sat, 18 Feb 2017 07:17:30 +0000 Penn AC is excited to announce that it has hired Jackie Kleinhans and Alex Binkowski to lead its 2017 Penn AC Gold U19 Rowing programs. Coach Kleinhans will return ...]]> Penn AC is excited to announce that it has hired Jackie Kleinhans and Alex Binkowski to lead its 2017 Penn AC Gold U19 Rowing programs. Coach Kleinhans will return to Penn AC to lead the Women’s U19 program after serving as an assistant the past two summers, and Coach Binkowski will head the Men’s U19 program. Congratulations to them both on their recent hires.

“We can’t wait to get started on another great year for Penn AC Gold!” said Penn AC President Mike Wherley.

Penn AC Gold Registration

Jackie Kleinhans comes to Penn AC from Row New York, where she is in her first year leading a team of 85 rowers with high expectations for this spring. Last summer, she was the lead assistant for Penn AC’s U19 Women’s squad, which had numerous racing highlights at USRowing Club Nationals, including medals in the U17 eight, intermediate lightweight four and intermediate pair, along with a 4th place finish in the U19 eight.

Wherley said, “The U19 Women did very well last summer and Coach Kleinhans played a large part in their success. Jackie took great care to make sure those athletes improved their rowing and racing skills every day. She also brings considerable experience from Row New York and her prior coaching positions, and we are very happy to have her leading the U19 women this summer!”

Before joining Row New York, Jackie served as a Varsity Assistant at Smith College from 2014-2016, where she also taught undergraduate courses, and Jackie has substantial experience developing youth athletes. She served as the Program Director and Boathouse Manager for the Indianapolis Rowing Center (IRC) from 2010-2014. Under her leadership, IRC earned bids to the Youth National Championship every year.

Alex Binkowski joins Penn AC as U19 Men’s Head Coach, and he brings over 30 years of rowing experience as an athlete, referee, coach, and administrator to Penn AC.

He has been coaching junior athletes for much of his career, and has coached rowers to top placings at USRowing Youth Nationals and Club Nationals, British Nationals and the Junior World Rowing Championships. His high school rowers have gone on to row at Oxford, Princeton, Stanford, Wisconsin, Syracuse, Tennessee, M.I.T., Villanova, Dartmouth, Clemson, Temple, Oregon and Oregon State.

“Coach Binkowski is going to be a great asset to our U19 Men’s team!” said Wherley. “He has such vast experience coaching in all settings, but it is clear that he is always focused on helping his athletes reach their goals. And we always like bringing in coaches with a teaching background because the best coaches are always exceptional teachers of the sport.”

Most recently, Alex served as the Director of Rowing at The Bolles School in Jacksonville, FL and White Rock Rowing in Dallas, Texas. His previous coaching positions have included both college and junior programs, including Mossbourne Rowing Academy and London Youth Rowing in London, St. Ignatius College Prep (San Francisco), Girls Preparatory School (Chattanooga), along with Oak Ridge Rowing Association, UMass, and Kansas State.

While an assistant at UMass, Alex coached multiple Atlantic-10 Conference Champions and UMass Scholar-Athletes of the Year. He has also taught spanish at the high school and college levels for over 20 years.

For more information on the U19 program, go to Penn AC Gold.

Full coaching biographies – Penn AC Gold U19 Coaches

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Applications Open for Penn AC U23 Men’s Sculling Program Sat, 21 Jan 2017 04:55:56 +0000 Online applications for the Penn AC U23 Men’s High Performance Sculling Program are open January 21, 2017 and will remain open until April 30, 2017. The cost is $795, ...]]> Online applications for the Penn AC U23 Men’s High Performance Sculling Program are open January 21, 2017 and will remain open until April 30, 2017. The cost is $795, including a $200 non-refundable deposit upon acceptance into the program. Camp will run from June 7 to August 13.

Apply for the Penn AC U23 Men’s Sculling Program at Regatta Central.

For more information, go to Penn AC U23 Sculling.

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Applications Open for Penn AC Gold for U19 Athletes Wed, 04 Jan 2017 04:00:39 +0000 Online applications for the Penn AC Gold Summer Program are open January 4, 2017 and will remain open until April 10, 2017. The cost is $6,700 for out-of-town athletes ...]]> Online applications for the Penn AC Gold Summer Program are open January 4, 2017 and will remain open until April 10, 2017. The cost is $6,700 for out-of-town athletes and $3,700 for local athletes, including a $1,500 non-refundable deposit upon acceptance into the program. Camp will run from June 13 (arrive in Philadelphia) to July 17 (depart from Philadelphia).

Apply for the Penn AC Gold U19 Program at Regatta Central.

For more information, go to Penn AC Gold.

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HOCR 2016 – Penn AC Wins Champ 2x Thu, 08 Dec 2016 19:52:34 +0000 Penn AC’s Justin Keen and Erik Frid came from the back of the pack to win the Men’s Championship 2x in what was the most surprising victory of the ...]]> Penn AC’s Justin Keen and Erik Frid came from the back of the pack to win the Men’s Championship 2x in what was the most surprising victory of the 2016 Head of the Charles regatta. They beat out several Olympians, including 2016 Olympic 1x Gold Medalist Mahe Drysdale and 2016 Olympic 2x Bronze Medalist Olaf Tufte, who had teamed up in the 2x for this event.

“This was a very impressive result for two up-and-coming scullers in the U.S.,” said Penn AC President Mike Wherley. “We look forward to seeing which Olympic Champions they might take down in 2017!”

As individuals, Keen and Frid each had a very successful fall, with Keen winning all the head races on the Schuylkill as well as the East Coast Speed Orders. Frid was not far behind, consistently placing in the top 3.

Saturday racing at the Head of the Charles was particularly challenging with strong wind gusts and a seemingly constant headwind. Despite this, several boats had impressive performances. Two other men’s doubles – a composite boat of Ian Luetzow (Penn AC) and Chris Lambert (Malta BC) and an all-Penn AC entry of Erick Winstead and Mike Davidson – finished 9th and 10th, respectively, in the Men’s Championship 2x event won by Keen/Frid.

Penn AC also had two women’s doubles – a composite boat of Cara Stawicki (Penn AC) and Nicole Ritchie (Vesper) and an all-Penn AC entry of Erika Jorgenson and Lauren Klick – that finished 8th and 10th, respectively, in the Women’s Championship 2x, along with two lightweight women’s singles - Katherine Schiro and Kristen Propst – that finished 8th and 10th, respectively.

Penn AC also had a Men’s Senior Master 8+ comprised of several Penn AC alums that placed 15th.

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