Learn to Row Coaches


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Walt Miga

Walt hails from Detroit, MI and started rowing at the Dallas Rowing Club in 2009. Walt has competed in several racing events in Dallas, Austin, Oklahoma City and has won gold, silver and bronze medals in single and team boats. With a passion to teach and introduce rowing to others, Walt started teaching Learn to Row classes at the DRC in 2010 and has since taught over 300 people how to row. He has been serving on the Board of Directors since 2010 and has been appointed Chairman of DRC safety. Walt holds a level II coaching certificate from US Rowing and is an Assistant Coach for the Junior Crew program at St. Marks School of Texas. Walt believes everyone has the ability to row and should progress at their own pace while enjoying rowing in a fun, relaxed environment.


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Laura Zuczek

Laura began coaching the DRC masters novices in March 2010 bridging the gap for interested rowers wanting to go from the Learn to Row weekend program to confidently rowing on their own.

Laura began rowing in May 2008 and quickly began winning medals at many regattas including a bronze at the Masters Nationals Championships in Camden, NJ,  and a gold in the Marathon Rowing Championships in Nacogdoches, LA,  in 2009, as well as two gold medals at the FISA World Rowing Masters Championships in St Catharine's, Canada, in 2010.
She is a USRowing certified Level 1 and II rowing coach and has served on the DRC board since January 2010. She is a full-time fire fighter with the Dallas Fire Rescue Department, married, and has one daughter.


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Melissa Essler

Melissa began rowing in 1998 in Jacksonville, Florida. After rowing varsity in high school and club in college, she returned to Jacksonville. There, she rowed and coxed for the Jacksonville Rowing Club and coached for Episcopal High School of Jacksonville. After being swept off her feet by a dashing Naval Officer and tying the knot, she relocated to St. Paul, Minnesota, where she experienced the Mississippi River, dodging barges, rowing in the snow, and rowing in tanks. While in St. Paul, she coached Learn to Row and both rowed and coxed for the Minnesota Boat Club.

She has rowed and coxed at regattas around the country including Head of the Charles, FISA World Rowing Master’s Championships in Princeton, NJ, Head of the Hooch, Southeast Regionals, and NWIRA. Coaching combines her love of rowing and teaching, and she loves being part of the Dallas Rowing Club. When not on the water, you can find her with her classroom full of students or curled up with a good book. She is married and has two kids.