Christian Renfro's swimming career started out humbly. He did laps in his family's pool, racing his two brothers for bragging rights.
But the competitive drive that runs in the Renfro family has helped fuel Christian, a La Cañada High senior, to break records and become a two-time high school All-American and All-Area standout in the pool.
In the fall, Christian will be able to look back on how far he's actually come from his years playing in the family pool. Brown has committed to swim for Brown University and will head to the Ivy League college following graduation.
Brown had been Christian's first choice since he first received a letter from the school early his senior year. The school just had everything he wanted.
"I have kind of focused my life on getting to a certain spot after college, so I looked at the colleges that would set me up for the future," Renfro said. "Brown is exactly where I want to be for college and what I want for my future."
A student first and an athlete second, Renfro is looking to study behavioral and psychological neuroscience. Eventually, he wants to pursue a career in neuroscience or educational reform — all while balancing swimming.
"I definitely want to find a way to balance both," he said.
Renfro decided to pursue high-school swimming his freshman year. His older brother, Josh, was swimming for La Cañada and Christian wanted to see if he could outdo him.
The decision worked out for Christian, who will captain the Spartans' swimming team this season. The two-time high-school All-American had a good showing at the CIF Southern Section Division II Swimming and Diving Championships last year, finishing second in the 200-yard freestyle in 1 minute, 41.55 seconds — an area best — and fourth in the 100 freestyle in 46.77.
A member of the Rose Bowl Aquatics Club, Renfro also holds two records in the 200-meter (1:39.58) and 800-yard (6:53.39) freestyle relays.
Art Lopez, Renfro's coach at La Cañada, said Christian's leadership, dedication, versatility and technique make him unique.
"Christian is great at analyzing his stroke and what is and isn't working for him," Lopez said. "He's an athlete and a swimmer because he can self-analyze what he's doing; and the coach's words are just there to reinforce what he's already thinking."
When Renfro graduates from college, he hopes to have rewritten some of Brown's record books. However, even before thinking about college, there is still one more thing Renfro wants to do before heading leaving La Cañada.
"I'm definitely trying to beat my brother Josh's La Cañada High record (of 1:24.88 in the 200 freestyle relay)," said Christian, who is also gunning for La Cañada records in the 100 and 200 freestyle events, as well as the 100 backstroke.
Lopez said he has faith that Christian will be able to vie for those records.
"He will [break his brother's record]; he's determined," Lopez said. "That brotherly rivalry will get him over the top."