SWM PREVIEW: Hoping for an In(Spire)d performance

SWM PREVIEW: Hoping for an In(Spire)d performance

PAINESVILLE, Ohio – The four-day Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Swimming & Diving Championship will run from Wednesday through Saturday this week, and Lake Erie College is hosting the event.

The meet will include the seven GLIAC men's programs (Ashland, Findlay, Grand Valley State, Lake Erie, Malone, Tiffin, Wayne State) and 10 women's squads (same plus Hillsdale, Northern Michigan, Ursuline). LEC is hosting the meet at the 800-seat Spire Aquatics Center in Geneva, Ohio.     

Lake Erie heads into the event enjoying perhaps its finest season to date. Both teams have been in and out of the top-40 rankings (CollegeSwimming.com) throughout the season. The LEC women are currently ranked No. 45 and, with a record of 3-2, finished over .500 in GLIAC dual meets for the first time in program history. The Lake Erie women are 5-4 overall and coming off an impressive victory over GLIAC foe Malone on Jan. 24. That LEC-MU meet was at the Spire facility; Lake Erie has competed in three Spire meets this season (Oct. 12, Nov. 9, Jan. 24).

The Storm men went 9-2 in 11 dual meets this season. They are currently ranked No. 25 in the nation by the College Swimming Coaches Association of America.

Both the men and women have been training since their last meet, which was on Jan. 24.

"We are excited for the athletes to have a chance to get back in the pool and race this week," said Head Coach Nicole Rose. "We have just been hard at work these last few weeks. We have had an incredible season of training and so many athletes have achieved outstanding personal times throughout the last few months. We are looking forward to having a season championship in our 'home pool', where we are most comfortable as well as accustomed to putting up competitive times." 

For the men, the Green & White head into their league meet holding no less than 14 GLIAC top-15 times in individual events. Chief among those listings are Julian Milinkovskyi (first-200 yard breaststroke, first-200 individual medley, second-400 IM), Ivan Cizmar (second-200 backstroke, third-200 IM, third-400 IM) and Yan Milinkovskyi (two top-15s). Two men's relays – the 800 free and the 400 medley – also hold the GLIAC's third-place spots heading into the title event.

The Lake Erie women own four top-15s. Senior Casey Wendall holds two of those, including a GLIAC No. 2 in the 1,000 free. Meri Cizmar owns LEC's other two top figures for the women.

Cizmar and the rest of LEC's best will be up against the best the ultra-competitive GLIAC has to offer. The CSCAA top-25 rankings are dotted up and down with GLIAC squads. In the men's division, Grand Valley State (fourth) leads a cadre of five top-25 teams (GVSU, Wayne State, Ashland, Malone, Lake Erie). Four GLIAC teams (Wayne State, GVSU, Northern Michigan, Ashland) are ranked in the women's top-25; Wayne State (Mich.) is the nation's No. 3 in that poll.

GLIAC swimmers own nine national top-5s. That includes an NCAA-II No. 2 held by Julian Milinkovskyi in the 200 IM.

"I anticipate the level of competition at Spire will be at a record high this week," said Rose. "And that's exactly what we hope for in order for Storm swimmers to be able to put up personal bests and break team records."

Lake Erie went "7 & 10" in last year's circuit meet: the men placed seventh and the women placed 10th. Wayne State swept the championship, with its men and women claiming titles WSU has been dominant in GLIAC swimming, having won seven men's titles and seven women's, all since 2003.


2014 GLIAC Championship – Schedule of Events

Wednesday, Feb. 12 ...
Women's 1,000 Freestyle
Men's 1,000 Freestyle
Women's 200 Individual Medley
Men's 200 Individual Medley
Women's 50 Freestyle
Men's 50 Freestyle
Women's Three-Meter Diving
Women's 200 Medley Relay
Men's 200 Medley Relay

Thursday, Feb. 13 ...
Women's 200 Freestyle Relay
Men's 200 Freestyle Relay
Women's 400 Individual Medley
Men's 400 Individual Medley
Women's 100 Butterfly
Men's 100 Butterfly
Women's 200 Freestyle
Men's 200 Freestyle
Men's One-Meter Diving
Women's 400 Medley Relay
Men's 400 Medley Relay

Friday, Feb. 14 ...
Women's 500 Freestyle
Men's 500 Freestyle
Women's 100 Backstroke
Men's 100 Backstroke
Women's 100 Breaststroke
Men's 100 Breaststroke
Women's 200 Butterfly
Men's 200 Butterfly
Women's One Meter Diving
Women's 800 Free Relay

Saturday, Feb. 15 ...
Women's 1,650 Freestyle
Men's 1,650 Freestyle
Women's 100 Freestyle
Men's 100 Freestyle
Women's 200 Backstroke
Men's 200 Backstroke
Women's 200 Breaststroke
Men's 200 Breaststroke
Men's Three Meter Diving
Women's 400 Freestyle Relay
Men's 400 Freestyle Relay

Directions to the Spire Institute in Geneva, Ohio: From Cleveland -- Go East on I-90. Exit off the Geneva Exit (exit #218 on Rt. 534). Take a left at the light heading north. SPIRE entrance will be on your right.

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