Meet Our Coaches
Luke Walton – Founder and Head Coach
UNWAVERING COMMITMENT TO BUILDING BETTER STUDENT ATHLETES AS THEY PREPARE TO ROW IN COLLEGE
“Rowing and the rowing community have given me so much over the years. I have learned invaluable life lessons and skills, traveled around the world, and built an international network of athletes and coaches. All of this began with my recruitment and admission to the University of California, Berkeley.
I am the oldest of three sons and the first to be recruited in our family. If anyone knows how intimidating and confusing the recruitment process can be for athletes and their parents, it’s me. After 10 years working with student athletes, developing their rowing skills, and successfully guiding them through the recruiting process, I decided to expand Rower Academy’s outreach and resources.
I want as many young athletes as possible to experience a trajectory like mine. Rower Academy exists to equip student athletes and their families with the information, tools, and training needed to successfully navigate the recruiting process and to realize their dreams of rowing in college.”
It’s time to embrace that dream, get to work, and set yourself on a winning course.
Kerry Simmonds – Rowing Coach
EMPOWERMENT AND TRANSFORMATION THROUGH GOAL SETTING AND “BIG PICTURE” MENTALITY
“I truly believe that rowing fosters an ability to empower others. Rowing was a gift in my life and the most transformative experience. My nine years of competitive rowing taught me about grit, the power of goal setting, and the importance of a positive, ‘big picture’ mentality.
While coaching high school & collegiate rowers, I discovered that I enjoy guiding others towards their goals and being a part of their personal growth process. I am excited to team up with Rower Academy so I may continue to use my unique perspective to help the next generation of competitive rowers be successful. In our coaching sessions, I will work alongside athletes to help guide them in the recruiting process, improve on their goals, and ultimately, empower them as individuals.”
Embrace your goals, become empowered, and position yourself to be recruited to the school of your dreams.
Dan Gilbert – Coxswain Coach
CREATING CHARACTER IN COXSWAINS THROUGH THE FULL EMBRACE OF THE PURSUIT OF THEIR CRAFT
“Coxing is a role of importance and leadership, unmatched in sport. It is a job that reflects not just what technical information you possess, but more importantly who you are at the center of your character. The resources provided by Rower Academy are presented not to just teach a junior coxswain what it takes to compete on the collegiate or elite level, but also to elevate their thinking and enrich their knowledge. Our goal is not only to improve your skills and guide you through the coxswain recruiting process, but also to inspire and contribute to your personal growth.
No matter how good you are currently, you will need to continue to improve to be a competitive candidate for recruitment and collegiate coxswain. There are very few recruiting spots available to coxswains – I know this from personal experience, as recruited junior coxswain, IRA champion, elite coxswain, and collegiate rowing coach. To this end, Rower Academy has created a library of information covering the totality and complexities of the role of coxswain from on the water skills, to growing the personality traits that make us the best leaders we can be.
Coxing is never perfect and is constantly evolving in the face of countless variables. Those who choose to engage coxing to its fullest extent, to be a student of the craft, and to embrace its challenges are the ones who not only end up at the college of their dreams, but also go on to do even bigger and better post-grad. As such, we hope that you will choose to be a student of coxing and join the Academy, to learn how to excel under the pressure and to become the very best student athlete you can be.”
Kelly Geary – Academic Coach
EMPOWERING STUDENTS TO THEIR FULL POTENTIAL IN AND OUT OF THE CLASSROOM
Kelly is entering into her 25th year of teaching high school math. She has taught all levels in a variety of subjects in the math curriculum over the years. She started teaching after graduating from St. Joseph’s University in 1998 with a degree in Mathematics and a minor in Secondary Education. She also earned her Masters Degree in Education with a concentration in Instructional Technology. She began her career in a private school in a suburb of Philadelphia and currently teaches in a public school in Massachusetts where she lives with her husband and four children.
Why Rower Academy?
The numbers are ruthless: Out of more than 40,000 applications a year to Harvard University, not quite 2,000 make the final cut. Just one admitted for every 19 rejected. Every year high school seniors with straight A’s, perfect test scores and stellar recommendations wonder why they didn’t make it. — Washington Post 10/21/2018
This highly competitive admissions process is not just an issue at Harvard. It is an issue at colleges and universities across the country.
So, what can you do to stand out in today’s ultra-competitive admissions process? The answer, once again, comes from data at Harvard.
Harvard University, one of the world’s most selective schools, admits fewer than 5 percent of applicants. But court documents in a lawsuit over Harvard Admissions indicate that when an applicant was designated as an athletic recruit during a recent six-year period, the admission rate was 86 percent. — Washington Post 6/12/2019
As a high school student athlete, the data shows you have a tremendous advantage over other applicants if you work to position yourself as a recruited athlete. But not all high school rowers get recruited.
How will Rower Academy help you stand out against all the other rowers trying to get recruited?
THE INFORMATION, TOOLS, AND TRAINING CREATED, UPDATED, AND CURATED BY COACH WALTON, COACH SIMMONDS, AND COACH GILBERT TO HELP YOU IMPROVE YOUR ROWING AND SUCCESSFULLY NAVIGATE THE RECRUITING PROCESS.
COMPLIMENTED WITH ACCESS TO THE MEMBER BLOG AND CALENDAR, AS WELL AS EXCLUSIVE DISCOUNTS TO OTHER ROWER ACADEMY SERVICES.
ONE-ON-ONE VIRTUAL SESSIONS WITH COACH WALTON, COACH SIMMONDS, AND COACH GILBERT WILL IMPROVE YOUR TRAINING, DISCIPLINE, AND TECHNIQUE.
PERSONALIZED ERGOMETER TRAINING PROGRAMS WILL IMPROVE YOUR ERG SCORES, SPECIFICALLY YOUR 2K WHICH IS COMMONLY USED AS THE STANDARD TO DETERMINE YOUR STANDING AS A RECRUIT.
THE PREMIERE ROWER ACADEMY PACKAGE. RECRUITING CONSULTING, MATCHED WITH PERSONALIZED ROWING COACHING. ENGAGE COACH WALTON’S, COACH SIMMONDS’, AND COACH GILBERT’S PERSONAL GUIDANCE, SUPPORT, AND ACCOUNTABILITY TO ACHIEVE THE TRANSFORMATION IN MINDSET AND SKILLSET NECESSARY FOR COLLEGIATE ROWING SUCCESS.
“Luke was a true mentor to Paige at a time most needed and will always remain a positive role model for her.”
“Luke provided unparalleled insight into the recruiting process and continues to be a valued mentor, sounding board and resource for both of our sons as they compete as Division I student athletes in college.”
“Luke's guidance and support was key in those often difficult days of recruiting. Our son is about to start his Senior Year at an Ivy League University. Luke is still the person our son turns to tell him of race successes and setbacks.”
“Luke and his coaching program were the X Factor for me not just during the recruiting phase but throughout my entire collegiate rowing career. Luke’s approach to coaching takes it much further than a training program that prepares athletes for college.”
“Not only did Luke help me hit my 2k PR to get recruited to the University of Southern California's women's rowing team (my dream school!) with only one year of rowing experience, but his support and guidance throughout each erg test and mental barrier allowed me to be a better rower and athlete when I competed at the Division I level.”
Rower Academy is committed to providing a safe and supportive environment for rowers, coaches, and coxswains through our adherence to, Safe Sport. Our campaign, adopted in conjunction with USRowing and the United States Olympic Committee, is focused on raising awareness and stopping abuse in rowing.
Rower Academy’s Safe Sport Policy adheres to the guidelines and mandates set out by the governing body for all things rowing in the United States, USRowing.
These policies govern all Rower Academy coaches, volunteers, and participants.
If you have any reason to believe that an individual has violated this policy, please fill out the Incident Report Form and email it to Rower Academy.