WACO, Texas — When you think of Texas sports, you think of football, not rowing, but one high school in Waco is switching things up.
A unique opportunity has come to La Vega High School. Students have been given the chance to join a rowing team.
Administrators said this opportunity is already shaping lives.
"To see kids engaged in this sport is not only something we want to see happen but everybody who sees it thinks it's fantastic," principal of La Vega High School, James Villa, said.
92% of La Vega high schoolers are economically disenfranchised. That's exactly why they chose this sport.
The students' coaches know rowing can lead to many opportunities. Now the students at La Vega High can reap the rewards of this sport too.
"It is a reality - the correlation between rowing and college scholarships and high institutional learning," the executive director of Waco Rowing Centra, Matt Scheuritzel, said.
It also keeps kids from heading down the wrong path.
"Rowing will take you to another world - if you're in a bad place like I was, this will get you in a great place," coach and professional rower, Tracy Bruner said.
Every Wednesday, students who are interested in the sport meet in a room full of a dozen stationary rowing machines.
Together, with the help of Olympic athletes and those who have been in the profession for decades, they perfect every stroke.
They're focused on the fundamentals right now, because many students are just now learning how to swim, and it's all because of this program.
This past summer, the school district hosted a water safety course, where families were able to learn how to swim. Parents joined their kids in the learning process.
Now it's all about the anticipation for the first competition. Coaches will select the students they feel are ready to compete and put them out on the Brazos.
Teams from all over Texas will join the students out on the water to compete on Nov. 6.