Penn AC Athlete Spotlight: Chris Shirley

by: Paul Coomes


Penn AC Athlete Spotlight:

Chris Shirley

Christopher Shirley (Instagram)Hometown: Olivette, MO

Q1: How did you discover rowing?

A: I had heard about joining the rowing team through emails sent out by my University – declined the invitation. I went to college and was approached in person to row, declined the invitation. Offered free pizza to try the sport, accepted the invitation.

Q2: What made you want to row?

A: Free Pizza

Q3: What is your favorite thing about rowing?

A: Rowing is one of the few sports where you have the opportunity to run into a metaphorical brick wall every single day. Finally breaking through said wall feels amazing, and then you get to do it all again.

Q4: Share a favorite memory.

A: There are too many good ones to pick from, and they’re too obscure. The best memories occur when you least expect it; between pieces, cooking breakfast, waiting around for practice to start.

 Q5: Why train at Penn AC?

A: Post college I didn’t want to join the workforce and I considered myself to be a halfway decent at rowing so I figured I would continue doing it. PennAC happened to be the club that took me in when I was a year out of serious collegiate training.

Q6: Typical training day at Penn AC?

A: Wake up at 5:30, get to the boathouse around 6:30 to start warming up. Practice starts at 7 and usually goes until 9, sometimes 10. Work starts when practice ends. The afternoon workout which is typically steady state or weights begins when work ends. Get home around 7 or 8, cook dinner/cleanup, go to bed at 8 or 9. Rinse and repeat

Q7: Rowing background.

A: Background/Accomplishments:


  • University of Minnesota 2012-2015
  • Minnesota Boat Club 2013-2016
  • Penn AC 2016 – Present

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