White Rock Lake

Dallas Hosts Rowing High School State Championships for First Time

Racing on Saturday and Sunday starts at 7 a.m. at White Rock Lake in east Dallas

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In the long list of Texas high school sports, rowing may not be the first to come to mind but the race on water is coming to North Texas.

White Rock Lake in Dallas hosts the state high school championships in rowing starting on Saturday.

On Friday, just a few of the 11 high school rowing teams competing for a state title could actually practice before being called back to dock, due to high winds.

Davis Colwell, head coach of the Rowing Club of The Woodlands near Houston said the conditions will be another factor out on the water this weekend.

“We’re an outdoor sport, we take what comes at us,” Colwell said. “And we’re a water sport so, hey, you’re going to get wet.”

A little extra breeze can’t take away the momentum Dallas feels about hosting more than 200 competitors at the two-day state championships beginning Saturday morning.

Austin has hosted every state championship regatta but the leadership at White Rock Rowing agreed to host the event this year which will allow high school crew teams to expand the racecourse from 1,000 meters to 2,000 meters.

“Having the state championship at a 2k distance, it’s an important step. It legitimizes what we’re doing,” Colwell said.

Rowing is not a sport recognized by UIL, which oversees Texas high school athletics. North Texas is home to 7 of the 11 teams competing this weekend with private schools like Hockaday, St. Mark’s, Ursuline Academy and Jesuit fielding teams but also White Rock Rowing and Dallas Rowing Club which are open to any high school age student in the area.

Lauren Centeno is the head coach at Dallas Rowing Club Juniors, which she added this year is comprised of mainly freshman and sophomore competitors, many of who are competing in just their first or second regatta this weekend.

“It’s great for the city of Dallas, it’s great for the county, it’s great for the whole Metroplex,” Centeno said. “It’s fun to win and hopefully we’re taking some trophies home at the end of the day.”

Racing heats start at 7 a.m. on Saturday and the finals start at the same time on Sunday.

Colwell says he hopes anyone around White Rock Lake this weekend will take some time to watch the students compete in a sport that is easy to pick up as a spectator.

“You don’t have to know a whole lot about the sport to understand what side by side, heads up racing looks like,” Colwell said. “They’ll get it.”

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