Swimmers from the Dartmouth Crusaders Swim Club came back from Canadian Senior Nationals and Age Group Nationals in Alberta with a fist full of medals and personal bests.
The age group nationals in Calgary, which is designed to give swimmers ages 12 through 18 the opportunity to race against the best athletes in their age group in Canada, is held every summer.
Sixteen-year-old Sean Berrigan was one of 17 Crusaders who qualified to attend and one of 14 who made the journey to compete.
He ended up winning gold in the 50-metre backstroke and came in fourth in the 100 back.
"I felt strong," he said. "And backstroke is smooth and makes you feel powerful."
More than 1,500 young swimmers from across Canada competed at Calgary's Talisman Centre from July 25 to July 29 at the Canadian Age Group Championships.
Berrigan also set a new Nova Scotia provincial record for 50 metre backstroke with a time of 30.79 at the 2012 Summer National Championships in Edmonton which took place earlier in July.
His teammate Mohamed El-Dah, 18, says he accomplished his goals this summer.
"I had Personal Bests in all of my races," he said.
El-Dah placed first at age groups in the 100-metre fly, fifth in 200 back and 200 fly, fourth in 50 fly and seventh in 100 free.
He will attend MacMaster University in September where he plans on concentrating on getting as close as he can get to the Olympics in 2016.
"I watch Michael Phelps and learn from him," he said. "I am able to mimic his strokes when I swim."
Crusaders Coach Michelle Wilson says there are a million variables that can happen between now and the next Olympics, but agrees that anything is possible.
"I was fortunate four years ago when I started as coach to watch these swimmers go from having fun in the pool to be being focused and winning."
She told the team then they would have twelve swimmers at the national level by 2012. They accomplished that goal, and then some.
"They didn't believe me at first, but they soon came around," she said. "We will go forward, following our motto. For the strength of the pack is in the wolf. And the strength of the wolf is in the pack. I have seen our swimmers adhere to this and believe in one another and support one another. It works."
Anyone interested in trying out for the Crusaders can come down to the Sportsplex on Sept. 4, 5 and 6 from 5 p.m. to 6 p.m. Ages 6 to 18 welcome. For more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org
The Crusaders has produced three Olympians: Marie Moore, Andrew Haley and Coach Bill Greenlaw.