MECHANICSBURG - They came. They swam. They conquered.
For some, like Warwick's Emily Cameron and Lancaster Catholic's Everett Albert, it was a real victory over competitors.
For others, it was taking down internal demons - those doubts that linger in your mind, even if they don't belong.
For the likes of some more, it was overcoming physical ailments that cropped up at absolutely the worst time.
Such were the snapshots of a few lives of area athletes at this past weekend's District Three Swimming Championships.
Including them all would fill up too much space. So here's just a few of the many stories that unfolded at the Cumberland Valley High School Natatorium.
Friday afternoon, Cameron stared down Rockett's red glare - as in a challenge from Wilson sophomore Ally Rockett - to capture the Class AAA 50-yard freestyle title in a near-record time of 23.19.
Cameron admitted that in the weeks leading up to districts, there was a little posturing between the duo, but that she put it all to rest prior to the sprint race.
She said she told Rockett something along the lines of she just wanted to go out, have fun and swim fast, and let the better athlete on that particular day come out on top.
Anyone who knows Cameron realizes that when she is having fun, she swims fast. When she swims fast, that means trouble for her competitors.
Cameron burst off the blocks, was ahead at the turn, and hit the wall in a blistering time that was just .03 off the district standard of 23.16 set by Spring Grove's Michele King in 2005. Rockett followed in 23.42
The Warwick junior was even more impressive Saturday, putting away the field in the 100 breaststroke by over four seconds. Her time of 1:02.34 was just off her state-record 1:02.31 set in 2010, and she will be going after that - and possibly challenging a minute-flat - when the PIAA Championships for Class AAA are held March 14-15 at Bucknell University.
Cameron, though, was more happy talking about the Warwick 200 medley relay team of herself in backstroke, junior Maddie Schouten in breaststroke, senior Tara Freeman in butterfly and sophomore Morgan Haney in freestyle that lowered their own school record to 1:48.69 for the silver medal.
Warriors coach Mark Daum made reference to the fact that those girls interrupted the Hershey-Wilson dominance the past few years in relays, when the Trojans and Bulldogs took 1-2 or 2-1 in most relay events.
Daum also mentioned that Schouten was ill the entire weekend, but overcame that physical ailment to compete in that record-setting relay as well as the individual 100 breaststroke Saturday afternoon, when she swam a solid race.
He's also wondering just how fast his foursome can go, if they each swam their all-time best 50.
Albert, like Schouten overcame an illness, and like Cameron, swam to victory Friday.
He repeated as champ in the boys' Class AA 200 individual medley in 1:59.15. He said he almost fainted on the awards platform, and had to stare at one spot on the pool deck to avoid passing out.
It turns out Albert was dehydrated. While it may be hard to imagine that someone surrounded by water can suffer from dehydration, swimmers really do sweat.
The Lancaster Catholic junior then came back Saturday and qualified for states with an at-large berth after a solid, but somewhat disappointing, sixth-place finish in the 500 free in 4:52.05. Albert said he was hoping to go somewhere near the 4:43 he swam earlier this season for his club team.
Manheim Township had a couple of kids qualify for states who seemed like longshots when districts began. While their physical abilities had been present for most of the season, there was something holding them back.
Sophomore Lisa David dropped almost 10 seconds off her district seed time to finish sixth in the 500 free in 5:10.98. She earned an at-large berth for states and coach Dan Graybill said he couldn't be more proud of that effort.
Graybill was equally happy that junior Kameron Kubicki made states with an at-large bid after finishing fifth in the 100. Kubicki was seeded 23rd out of the 24 competitors at districts, so he was assigned lane one in the first - and slowest - of the three heats.
Kubicki put together an incredible race, going 47.86 against the field, then had to sit back and watch the two faster heats go off. When the final times were all posted, Kubicki placed. When the at-large berths were announced Sunday, Kubicki was second among the 16 additional state entries.
Graybill said Kubicki didn't think he was going to place, so he neglected to have his school warm-up with him. He had to borrow a teammate's uniform to get on the awards platform, because medal winners must wear school-issued attire.
It was quite a weekend for local swimmers. They came. They swam. They conquered.