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Gigi Ekstrom
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For three weeks this fall, Lakehill Preparatory School faculty members could be seen gliding across the water, strengthening their muscles, building teamwork, and enjoying the sunsets at White Rock Lake.

The idea for this Lakehill faculty crew team came from Lakehill's Director of Admission, Lisa Bracken. "While living on the East Coast, I had watched the rowing teams and always admired the unity and sportsmanship that went into the effort," she explained.

The team was coached by Jonathan Stevens, a Lakehill kindergarten parent and the founder of Dallas United Crew. "When I heard that Lakehill was adding Crew as a team sport, I was thrilled and asked Coach Stevens if they ever worked with faculty," said Bracken. "He said no, but that sparked a conversation, and now we just finished an amazing season of rowing twice a week. Not only is it the best exercise I've ever done, it's been a great way to get to know faculty outside of school."

The team rowed in a vessel known as "the barge," which is wider than a traditional racing boat. The barge can accommodate four rowers on each side, with room for the coach to move up and down the barge in the middle, making it the perfect boat for beginning rowers.

"I have enjoyed kayaking on the lake and have always wanted to learn to row," said Cristy McCarty. "I loved learning the technique and teamwork involved. And it has been great rehab for my knee. My favorite part has been the serenity of being on the lake at night."

Although he has lived within a mile of White Rock Lake since 1978, Bill Dunklau said he had never been out on the water. "I had been wanting  to go out, but it was going to be a hassle to put my friend's kayak into the water, so we never got around to it."

Dunklau says he was surprised at the amount of knowledge and awareness required. "We thought that achieving precise synchronization with the other rowers was difficult enough with our eyes open, until we were told to achieve that result with our eyes closed!" he said. "That specific exercise was one of the highlights."

"Crew was awesome," agreed Sacha Troxler. "I have already signed up to continue crew. I am looking forward to being on a competitive team and am very thankful Lakehill provided me the opportunity to try crew!"

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