Penn AC Gold

“Penn AC Gold changed my life…  Go there to become a rower, to learn how to row and live well.” Ben Chuter, Penn AC Gold 2010


Junior Program Overview

Penn AC Gold Title Page 2019 - ver3 (1)Penn AC Gold (Men’s & Women’s Junior Programs) provides junior athletes with the complete competitive summer racing experience. Our goal is to develop our athletes in all aspects of rowing necessary to prepare for collegiate and national level competition. 

We are not a recreational summer rowing camp. Our goal is to promote learning, teamwork, and competitiveness by providing education, setting common standards, and expecting accountability. It is our belief that rowing success is built upon a foundation of hard work, teamwork, discipline & determination, mental toughness, technical skill, and physical ability. Penn AC Gold will provide you the opportunity to challenge yourself in all of those areas.  What you learn here will serve you long after you leave. You will be exposed to a level of competition not found in most high school rowing programs.

Penn AC Rowing Association is structured to provide a team atmosphere that is unparalleled. Our athletes are part of a larger structure made up of collegiate athletes as well as Elite athletes training to make the US Senior National Team. Penn AC Gold athletes will have the opportunity to train and learn what is necessary to reach that level. At the same time, our program introduces athletes to past and current Penn AC coaches and athletes who are World and Olympic Medalists.

Program Dates
Start Date* End Date
Summer 2019 June 13, 2019 July 13, 2019
*Start Date: Practice starts on June 14th but all athletes living in the housing on the University of Pennsylvania’s campus must arrive in Philadelphia on June 13th by 6:00 PM.

Our final regatta will be the US Rowing National Championships on Lake Harsha in Clermont County, OH.  Youth events are currently scheduled to end on Friday, July 12th.  Our return date to Philadelphia is currently planned for Sat., July 13th.  Upon our return to Philadelphia, all rowers should be picked up at Penn AC.  For those flying home from Philadelphia, transportation will be provided to the Philadelphia International Airport.  Rowers are also permitted to depart directly from the regatta and travel home with their parents.

Program Details

Penn AC Gold is a competitive and intensive summer rowing program for high school athletes that operates out of the historic Penn AC boathouse in Philadelphia, PA. We strive to educate and prepare our athletes to handle all aspects of rowing necessary to compete at the highest levels of rowing within a college-like environment that emphasizes fun, hard work, teamwork, and personal responsibility.  We are committed to providing a truly unique, summer camp experience focused on several key areas that will help develop rowers into high-performing athletes ready for the next challenge in their rowing careers.

  • Technique
  • Strength and Conditioning
  • Flexibility
  • Mental Training and Race Preparation
  • Proper Nutrition
  • Coxing – Practice and Race Preparation
  • Team Building – Leadership and Communication Skills

Campers will train 2-3 times per day and race at both the Independence Day Regatta in Philadelphia, PA and the USRowing National Championships.  Our training will focus on developing athletes into better all-around rowers.  We have a diverse and accomplished group of coaches.  Our Head Coach, David Lindstrom, is a past Olympic and World Championship oarsman from New Zealand who has spent 35+ years coaching all levels of rowing in his country.  He currently is the Head Women’s Junior Coach at Christ’s College, Christchurch and recently stepped down from leading New Zealand’s junior selection committee for 12+ years.  His vision for developing fast boats does not include daily, punishing seat racing.  Rather, his coaching philosophy focuses on technique, fitness, feel of the boat, and rhythm – all tenants in his model of developing boat speed in a short period of time.

While at our camp, athletes will live on campus at one of the most prestigious universities in the country, the University of Pennsylvania.   Athletes will experience “college life” in one of the most beautiful and historic cities in the USA.  Room & board, coaching, regatta travel expenses (housing & food), apparel, regatta entry fees, leadership seminars, outings, and facility costs are all included in the camp’s cost. Local athletes opting out of room and board will receive a reduced rate. Coaching staff and chaperones will live in the dormitories with the athletes.

Junior Coaching Staff
Director of Programs – Paul Coomes
Head Junior CoachDavid Lindstrom
Men’s Staff
Associate Head Coach:  Julian Stephanski 
Assistant Coach: William Greene
Women’s Staff
Associate Head Coach:  David Hammond
Assistant Coach:  Serra Sevenler
Daily Schedule

Penn AC Gold offers a comprehensive program which provides a daily schedule that simulates the training schedules of collegiate and pre-elite athletes. Below is a typical daily practice schedule.

Typical Daily Schedule
07:00 – Breakfast
08:15 – Bus departs for the boathouse
08:30 – First practice
11:30 – Bus departs for University of Pennsylvania
12:00 – Lunch
13:00 – Lift/team meeting/video review/speaker
14:30 – Bus departs for the boathouse
14:45 – Second practice
18:00 – Bus departs for University of Pennsylvania
18:30 – Dinner
21:00 – Bed

Practice Sessions

Training during camp will not only include twice daily workouts and on-the-water instruction, but also classroom sessions. Our goal is to create a competitive environment where the athletes are challenged on a daily basis to excel. The athletes will train at a high level and be expected to adapt and learn quickly. Athletes can expect 10-12 water sessions per week and 2-3 sessions of video review, training on the erg, and/or training in the weight room.

Athlete Leadership Development Program

This year, Penn AC will be partnering with Temple University’s School of Sport, Tourism and Hospitality Management and its Sport Industry Research Center  to offer high-level athlete leadership development programming. Weekly programming will include:

1. Mental Toughness for Athletes
2. Positively Managing Change
3. Imagery in Sport – Preparation for Race Day
4. Learn from Me – A Panel Presentation of National Team Alumni
5. Navigating College Admissions and Recruiting

Each session will be staffed by a professional facilitator and all course materials are included in the camp fee.

Eligible Athletes

For 2019, Penn AC Gold will accept applications for the following categories:

U19 Team: Maximum of 20 male athletes; 3 coxswains Maximum of 20 female athletes; 3 coxswains
High school rowers born in the year 2001 or after who have at least 1 to 2 years of rowing or sculling experience. Novices who are upperclassmen are encouraged to apply.  A rower can compete in the U19 category through December 31st of the year of their 18th birthday.  If you turn 19 this year, you are not eligible.
U17 Team: Maximum of 8 male athletes; 1 coxswains Maximum of 8 female athletes; 1 coxswains
High school rowers born in the year 2003 or after who have at least 1 year of sweep and sculling experience.  A rower can compete in the U17 category through December 31st of the year of the their 16th birthday.  If you turn 17 this year, you are not eligible.
Team Selection 

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 US National Team and Olympic oarsmen. Currently, no fewer than 20 elite level athletes are training out of Penn AC.  A Men’s 4x and Women’s Lightweight 4x, training out of Penn AC, represented the US at the World Championships in 2017 and a Men’s 4x training out of the Club represented the US at the World Championships in 2018.

Simply put, we are looking for young men and women who want to be the best. Penn AC Gold is a high level camp with limited spots available. The selection process is competitive and we will use the following criteria to select the group. Lightweight rowers are encouraged to apply and will be considered.
1. Erg Testing
2. Race Results
3. Technique
4. Coach’s Recommendations
5. Physiological Characteristics (height, weight, wingspan)
6. Age (the roster will be comprised of both U19 and U17 athletes)

Coaching Recommendations 

Athlete’s are encouraged to provide a recommendation from their current coach. Recommendations should be emailed to the Director of Programs (, before the close of registration on April 28, 2019.


Rowers are encouraged to provide video and coxswains are encouraged to provide audio/video recordings of practices/races. Files should be shared via links to a shared folder in services such as Google Drive, OneDrive, etc. YouTube is another great way to share these files. Links to and location of files should be emailed to the Director of Programs (

Important Performance Thresholds

The below erg times are recommendations and are not the only measures we will use to select the final roster of athletes. We will evaluate the athletes based on several criteria, as indicated in the Team Selection section. If you are close to the standards or have experienced extenuating circumstances, please fee free to reach out to the Associate Head Coach for the respective to which you are applying.

2k Erg Score
U19 Men: 6:45 or better
U19 Women: 7:45 or better
U17 Men: 7:00 or better
U17 Women: 8:00 or better
Program Cost

Program costs vary depending on whether you are a Visiting Athlete that lives in the housing provided at the University of Pennsylvania during camp, or a Local Athlete that will will not. For all athletes, coaching, regatta travel expenses (housing & food), apparel, regatta entry fees, leadership seminars, outings, and facility costs are included. For Visiting athletes, full room and board and transportation to and from practice are also included in the your cost. Full room and board and transportation are NOT provided for Local Athletes. You are responsible to secure your own housing & food during camp and transportation to and from practice on a daily basis.  Local Athletes do have the option to purchase lunches at the University of Pennsylvania cafeteria for an additional fee of $300. This provides you the opportunity to each lunch with your teammates and coaches and spend the afternoon resting and visiting in the dorms between practices.

Program Cost Visiting Athletes Local Athletes
Total $6800 (room & board included) $4300 (room & board not included)
Down Payment (due by May 10, 2019) $1500 (non-refundable) $1500 (non-refundable)
Remainder (due by June 1, 2019) $5300 $2800
Online Applications

Applications open January 3, 2019 and now close on May 8th, 2019.  Spots are limited and applicants will be evaluated on a rolling basis until all roster spots are filled.  The final roster will be set no later than May 8th, 2019. Athletes who wish to apply to the Penn AC Gold Program register by clicking the Penn AC Gold Summer Junior Camp Application Button below.

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