Meghan Robenhymer said swimming has taken her pretty far.
The 14-year-old Coconut Creek teenager took third in the Girls 13-14 50-yard breaststroke, second in the Girls 13-18 100-yard breaststroke, and was on two winning relays to help the Deerfield Beach Dolphins win its eighth consecutive South Florida Recreational Swim League Summer Championships recently at the Coral Springs Aquatic Complex. The two-day meet was held in the Michael Lohberg Pool of Champions.
“This is my entire life,” said Robenhymer, a freshman at Monarch High School and nine-year veteran of sport. “I was average when I first started. The work I bring to it made myself better.”
Robenhymer started swimming at a preschool program and was told she had really good form.
“They said I should tryout for the recreation league,” Robenhymer added. “I was on that team for a couple of years and then I switched to Dolphins. It’s great to be winning races. It shows that all the hard work paid off.”
Parkland’s Emily Chen also turned in a strong performance for Deerfield Beach as she won three individual events and was on two winning relays at the event.
Chen, 14, who holds 12 individual league records dating back to when she was 7, added the Girls 13- 14 100-yard freestyle and the Girls 13-14 100-yard IM records to her credit. The Deerfield Beach High School freshman started swimming when she 7.
“It has just been fun,” Chen said. “It has been a really great venture. I’ve been with the same coaches the whole time and it is just a great atmosphere. The sport means almost everything to me. It is practically my life now.”
Chen hopes for a long swimming career, first high school and then college.
“It is definitely a dream to think of the Olympics,” Chen said. “It is always fun to watch. From afar, whatever is best for me in the long run. The sport definitely shaped my personality — from teamwork and how to support each other to learning how to lose. I learned not to be a sore loser.”
Chen said it has helped her stay determined.
“You just keep trying,” Chen said. “You just keep going. If you never try, you are never going to go anywhere.”
The Deerfield Beach Dolphins won the Large Division with 4,455 points, while the Tsunami Swim Team based in Coconut Creek won the Medium Division with 2,219 points. The Margate Motion Swim Team was fourth in the Medium Division with 1,346 points.
The victory marked the eighth consecutive summer championship victory for the Dolphins since 2007, and 20th overall during the same span when counting the fall and spring seasons.
Ninth year Deerfield Beach Dolphins coach Rafael DaSilva said the victory was huge for the program. The Dolphins have 90 swimmers on its roster and had 83 swimmers compete.
“This meet is the most important meet of the year,” DaSilva said. “It is the biggest championship of all three. This is where it started. The fall and the spring championships were added later.”
“There are always more people because, in the fall, you have high school swimming and, in the spring, you have water polo and some do middle school swimming,” DaSilva added. “There is a lot of competition per se to get the kids involved. The summer is where you prepare the kids for high school swimming and you have the bigger number and more quality swimmers returning. You have more teams and this is the only meet where you make the divisions based on sizes from team to team.”