Penn AC Athlete Spotlight: David Judah

by: Paul Coomes


Penn AC Athlete Spotlight:

David Judah

David Judah (instagram)Hometown: Fairmount, GA

Q1: How did you discover rowing?

A: My uncle had rowed for a short time at UNC in the late 70s which made me vaguely aware of it. During freshman orientation at Georgia Tech there was an evening where you could walk through and talk to all of the various clubs. I found the crew team and went to the information meeting later that week. The rest is history.
Q2: What made you want to row?

A: I started talking to the crew team during freshman orientation at college and decided to give it a try. I discovered pretty quickly that I had a natural talent for the sport and I loved being in big boats with my teammates. There is nothing quite like the feeling of racing in an 8+ that is all in sync and hauling. The following summer I did my first sculling camp and found that it was a more natural motion for me than sweeping and I like the accountability of being the only one responsible for a boat going fast or slow. At this point I think it’s the chasing perfection that keeps me going down to the boat house every morning. There is nothing quite like the effortless floating feeling you get during a good piece, it’s intoxicating.

Q3: What is your favorite thing about rowing?

A: “I can eat whatever I want…

I get on the water late some nights just as a function of having a full-time job and a commute. That should just suck, but some nights you wind up with the river all to yourself and the wind has died as the sun has gone down so the water is flat. It’s just you and a 1X for 12 miles and you find your groove. If you’re lucky maybe it’s a little foggy so the lights and the noise from the cars on Kelly Drive dies away and you get to be undisturbed. Those nights always feel like by best rows. I always get wound up and start pushing the pace because it just feels so great to be out there turning miles. Inevitably I feel exhausted when I step out of the boat but it was totally worth it.

 Q4: Share a favorite memory.

A: In 2016 I won the Senior Men’s Double at Canadian Henley with my friend Nick Goode. We had led every race we were in all the way to the final and pulled out an 8 second lead by the finish. I hadn’t had much luck at Canadian Henley in the past, with a lot of random mishaps in finals so it was nice pull out a win for once.

 Q5: Why train at Penn AC?

A: I came to Penn AC the fall of 2012 after graduating from Georgia Tech. I moved as I was looking for some better training opportunities than Atlanta was able to provide at the time. I had some connections at Penn AC through mutual friends and decided it was as good a place to set up roots and make a go of it. We have a great group of individuals in the boathouse and an overall group intensity that is near impossible to beat. We all feed off the energy each other provides and it drives you to pull the best out of yourself every day.
Q6: Typical training day at Penn AC?

A: I wake up at 4:50am and am logged into work by 5am. I work until 6:15am when I pack up and head to the boathouse. I stretch and get my gear sorted so that I’m ready to start practice at 7:00am. Practice last from ~7:00am-9:00am. I grab a quick shower and down a shake and start my commute to work. I’m in the office by 10am and work until 4:30pm when I head back to the boathouse. I start my second session around 5:45pm and am usually heading home by 7:30pm. At home I grab a quick bite, finish off any work I wasn’t able to get to during the day and get my clothes packed for the next day. I strive to be in bed with the lights off by 9:00pm so I can be ready to do it all again the next day.

Q7: Rowing background.

A: Background:

  • Georgia Tech Crew 2007-2011
  • Atlanta Rowing Club 2008-2012
  • Penn AC 2012-Present


  • 2nd M4X USRowing Club Nationals 2018
  • 8th CM4X+ World Coastal Rowing Championship 2016
  • 1st Senior M2X Canadian Henley 2016
  • 2nd M4X Canadian Henley 2013
  • 3rd M4X Canadian Henley 2012
  • 3rd U23 M1X Canadian Henley 2010
  • 2nd Senior M2x USRowing Club Nationals 2013
  • 1st Senior M4X USRowing Club Nationals 2012
  • 2nd Senior 1X USRowing Club Nationals 2012
  • 1st M1X Head of the Hooch Regatta 2011
  • 1st Club M1X Head of the Charles Regatta 2011
  • 1st Intermediate M4X USRowing Club Nationals 2011
  • 1st Intermediate 1X USRowing Club Nationals 2011
  • 1st M4+ Dad Vails Regatta 2011

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