LA CROSSE, Wis. -

The La Crosse YMCA is sending 12 swimmers to Nationals, doubling what it sent a year ago.

Seven boys and five girls will make the trip to Greensboro, North Carolina, including 14 year-old John Loepfe, a freshman at La Crescent High School.

"I always dreamed of going to nationals individually," he said. "I started the team when I was five, and I always wanted to go down, so it's a big step for me."

Loepfe set state records to qualify individually for the 100 and 200 meter backstroke. He made the trip last year with the team, when he was only 13.

"He's really good. He's a stud," Onalaska senior Samuel Bowman said. "He works really hard, he knows what he's doing when he gets here. In and out of the water, he does everything right. He's really special."

The team will leave Monday morning for Greensboro. The competition lasts Wednesday through Saturday.