By: Jill Fox
A local swimmer is making quite a splash at the Coral Springs Aquatic Center.
Twelve-year-old Samantha Schoenborn made waves last week when she broke the 11 to 12 girls 400 individual medley club record during the 2019 Junior Olympics in Stuart.
Representing Broward, Miami-Dade, Palm Beach, and Monroe counties, the Florida Gold Coast Junior Olympics has certain time standards swimmers must meet to compete. Having just turned 12 in May, Samantha qualified for 14 different events and is already eligible for the 13 to 14 age group based on her Olympic time tests.
Currently in seventh grade at Westglades Middle School, Samantha’s favorite subjects are math and language arts. She lives in Parkland with her mother, father, brother and three golden doodles.
Samantha got an early start in the pool, beginning at three-months-old with Mommy and Me classes, followed by swim lessons at two, then becoming a member of the Coral Springs Swim Club at the Aquatic Center at five years old.
Her mother, Lorena said it all started because they lived in Florida and thought it was so important for their children to learn to swim. Samantha competes in all strokes, but she said her best events are breaststroke and the individual medley – a combination of freestyle, breaststroke, backstroke, and butterfly.
It was the 400-meter individual medley race in which Samantha broke the Coral Springs 11-12 year-old club record during the Junior Olympics. She also swam the 100-meter breaststroke in a relay with three other teammates, taking first place.
She said she was excited when she won because she was working very hard to get the record and was happy she accomplished her goals.
Competitive swimming takes dedication. Samantha practices at least six days a week, for two hours each day. She loves it and wants to continue on the swim team when she attends Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, then in college as well.
Her father, David said Samantha just can’t wait to go to practice, and it’s great to see that.
“She works so hard, she’s super passionate about it, and never views it as a chore.”
Her mother may have given her the swimming gene. At the age of 15, Lorena was on a swim team in Peru where she grew up.
“I always wanted the children to follow their passion and Sammy just happened to pick swimming, which is the sport that I love,” said Lorena. Her son, Evan, 10, chose soccer as his passion, but he supports Samantha by going to all of her meets, as long as his Parkland travel soccer schedule doesn’t conflict.
Samantha’s latest accomplishment was being selected as one of eight 11 and 12-year-old girls from the Florida Gold Coast, to participate in the Southern Zone Age Groups Championship. This will be her first experience traveling out of state with a team where she will head to Cary, North Carolina to compete for a week against others in the Southern region.
Lorena said, “She sets her goals, she works really hard for them, and she just goes for it.”
- Jill Fox is an Emmy Award-winning writer and producer. She is currently a Senior Account Director at Lon Haber & Co., a leading full-service public relations firm. Fox worked at NBC Miami for eight years after graduating from the University of Miami. She lives in Parkland with her husband, Brian and two children.