Captain Conor Munn led by example as he helped Ards to victory in the prestigious War Memorial 6x50m freestyle relay at Laganvalley Leisureplex.
Going into the race as underdogs, Ards were trailing Bangor with two swimmers to go and Munn produced a great 50 metres to set up fellow Commonwealth Games swimmer Curtis Coulter for the glory leg and he duly delivered.
The other four members were James Brown, Matthew Scott, Sam Manley and Steven McQuillan, who had come out of retirement.
Ards' winning time was 2:21.31 with Bangor touching home at 2:21.48.
The War Memorial Shield victory came shortly after Ards, who had Andrew Bree competing for one night only, placed second in the 4x50m medley relay behind Bangor - despite the European silver medallist clocking a great time of 28.50 seconds for his 50m breaststroke. It proved to be a successful night for Ards as they also won the women's medley in a new Ulster senior record time of 1:58.43 with a quartet of Bethany Firth, Rebecca Reid, Emma Reid and Rebecca Hughes. Firth, Hughes, Emma Reid and Mary Kate McDowell also took gold for Ards in the 4x50m freestyle relay, lifting the prestigious Dixon Bates Cup.
Ards coach Nelson Lindsay said: "It's a great start to the season for us. Winning the War Memorial Shield and Dixon Bates Cup is always very special and to win both is great. We were underdogs going into both men's relays but we really turned it around in a great race in the 6x50m free. Conor Munn and Steven McQuillan got us right back in contention and Curtis did a great job in seeing us home."
Luke Graham of Ards and Caoimhe Quinn of Lisburn won the Elizabeth Long Trophies for most promising 11-year-olds.