Senior Alexandra Nichols of Granville High School was only slightly less busy than usual at the Division II state swimming and diving meet.

Senior Alexandra Nichols of Granville High School was only slightly less busy than usual at the Division II state swimming and diving meet.

She competed in three of the final six events during the preliminaries Friday at C.T. Branin Natatorium in Canton, with the finals being held last Saturday. She qualified as an individual in the 100-yard freestyle and also with the 200 and 400 free relays.

"It gets hectic but I still get fired up for every event," Nichols said. "I've all had year to get used to it."

She was standing on the podium after the 100 free at the district meet Feb. 21 at Ohio State -- where she competed in four of the final six events -- when her name was called for the 100 backstroke. She also swam the second leg of the 200 free relay.

Scrambling to report on time for the 100 back, she finished in 1 minute, 2.39 seconds but missed a chance to gain an at-large bid and qualify for state in a maximum fourth event. Her time ranked 25th statewide as the top 24 advanced.

"I was pretty disappointed," said Nichols, who led off the 400 free relay. "I was ready. Getting there late didn't really hurt me. I just wasn't fast enough."

Nichols, who last season qualified for state with the same two relays, hopes to keep swimming next year. She's considering Denison or Hamilton College in Clinton, N.Y. She said she just about couldn't ask for a better senior season before heading off to college.

"I ran cross country in the fall and track last spring. But after making state last year (in swimming), I really dedicated myself," Nichols said. "This was the first time I swam year round so I was more prepared mentally and physically."

Heath's Tyler Paulsen also made the most of his final prep season. He and Granville's Robby Spichiger and Lori Davis were the only area swimmers to qualify for state in four events.

Paulsen, who didn't start swimming competitively until he was a sophomore, advanced as an individual in the 50 and 100 free and with the 200 free and 200 medley relays.

"I got started later than all my friends on the team," he said. "I found out I was pretty good at it. I guess I'm just a natural."

Paulsen owns or shares program records in nine of the 11 events, with the exceptions being the 100 back and 100 breaststroke. He's also hoping to continue swimming next year. His college options include Mount Union, which recently opened a new swimming facility.

Paulsen swam the third leg on the 200 medley relay and anchored the 200 free relay. He was joined on both by Julian Oprandi, Marc Mason and Josh Wedor. They are Heath's first state qualifiers.

"This means a lot to all of us. We've worked real hard for it," Paulsen said. "After they added the second boys division this year, we all just went to work and set a goal to make this happen."

Spichiger, a senior, qualified as an individual in the 200 free and 500 free and also competed with the 200 medley relay and 400 free relay. Davis, a freshman, qualified as an individual in 50 and 100 free and anchored both relays.