Rocket relay team finishes 13th at state swim meet

After qualifying for the 16th and final spot in the preliminaries of the Division II state swim meet, Oak Harbor's 200 freestyle relay team was pleased to be in the finals, but wanted to finish strong.

The quartet of four seniors -- Abbie Mizelle, Miki Blunt, Paige Priesman and Taylor Byington -- finished 13th in the finals in 1:41.50. Finishing in the top-16 means the group earned All-Ohio honors and add to the rich tradition of the school's swimming program.

"Making it to the finals was really cool. We were seeded 14th and didn't swim our best time in the prelims, (but) we snagged the last seed in the finals, so qualifying was a relief," said Priesman. "All four os us knew we wanted our last high school swim meet to be a high note and this was the perfect way to do it."

Byington was happy the relay team was able to improve upon last year's finish.

"I was so excited to make to the finals and as a relay team, too. I think I'm still in amazement from going from 24th last year to 13th," said Byington. "These past four years have made me who I am and created friendship and memories I will never forget. I know that the things I have learned through swimming will carry into my future and I know I will always miss my high-school swimming years."

The final race was the culmination of a career for a group that had an individual qualifier -- Byington (200 free) -- and also, with the help of freshman Erin Druyor, made it to state in the 400 free relay, finishing 22nd in 3:47.06. This came a month after the team won the first Sandusky Bay Conference title in 17 years.

"The last four years have been great. I've made so many friends through this sport and every season our team gets closer and the coaches and teammates mean so to me," said Priesman. "I'm so happy with how everything ended this year and will definitely miss not only the sport but the bonds I've gained swimming on this team."

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