CEDAR LAKE | Devin Rohrbacher was an aspiring swimmer at Lake Central.
As a freshman, he earned a varsity letter. As a sophomore, he emerged as one of the team's top butterfliers.
Problem was, when Rohrbacher came up for air, sometimes there wasn't any.
"I have asthma, and that really made swimming difficult," Rohrbacher said. "I was throwing up during practices, and I was going through three inhalers a day."
Following doctor's advise to look for another sport, Rohrbacher got out of the pool and into the gym.
"Actually, I always loved lifting weights," Rohrbacher said. "I enjoy being in the gym. Swimming kind of kept me out of it because we would usually have two grueling practices a day."
For the following three years, the Dyer 19-year-old focused on bodybuilding with the hope of one day entering and winning a competition. Rohrbacher really began to progress shortly after meeting former "Mr. Indiana" Mark Banter at a local gym.
"We started training together, and I realized that he was the coach I needed if I was going to be serious about this," Rohrbacher said. "The thing he helped me most with is my diet.
"He wrote a plan for me, and it has paid off."
At the NPC North Kentucky Bodybuilding Championships held March 16 in Covington, Ky., Rohrbacher — about 25 lighter than his "walk around" 230-pound frame — placed first in the Teen Division. It was his first bodybuilding title.
"I think what set me apart from the others was I went out there and had fun," Rohrbacher said of the "pre-judging" stage, where placings are generally determined, and the night "show" in front of an audience when borderline decisions are sometimes determined.
"A lot of the guys out there were grimacing while striking a pose," Rohrbacher said. "I tried to be more natural."
Rohrbacher plans to do another show in October. If he could strike gold at an NPC National competition, he's eligible for a pro card and a chance to win prize money on the professional bodybuilding circuit.
He's trains regularly at Club B Fit in Cedar Lake. Banter and his wife Gloria recently became co-owners at the 24-hour gym, formerly known as "Admirals."