An in(Spire)d performance: men and women capture wins in combined Spire meet

Julian Milinkovskyi (Photo by Bill Wendall)
Julian Milinkovskyi (Photo by Bill Wendall)

GENEVA, Ohio – Lake Erie's men downed Gannon (Pa.) and the Storm women went 1-2 in a quad meet against California (Pa.), Gannon (Pa.), and Ursuline on Saturday at the Spire Institute.


For the Storm, the meet was another opportunity to perform in the world-class facility that will host both the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Championships (Feb. 12-15) and the NCAA-II National Championships (March 12-15) later this season. LEC also opened its season with a tilt against Findlay at Spire (Oct. 12).


Multiple Lake Erie program records fell and Storm swimmers captured victories in more than a third of the day's events in Geneva.


"I'm really pleased with the races we had this weekend," said Head Coach Nicole Rose. "Our men's team, in particular, really rose to the challenge and was able to go toe-to-toe with a talented team the caliber of a Gannon."


The men's team won 9-of-15 events in downing Gannon, 136-122.


The LEC women defeated Ursuline, 170-47, lost to Gannon, 180-79, and lost to California, 153-86.


On the men's side Julian Milinkovskyi had a big day, posted a pair of B qualifying times (100-yard breaststroke, 200-yard individual medley). Milinkovskyi clocked in at 56.42 in the 100 breast and at 1:51.03 in the 200 IM. The Ukrainian senior placed first in both events.


Overall, the Storm men carded wins in 9-of-16 races on the day. Julian Milinkovskyi and Ilia Platonov each won three individual events. Platonov – whose most impressive performance was a gutsy, fraction-of-a-second win over Gannon's Denys Fedorchenko in the 100-yard freestyle – swept three freestyle events (the 50, 100 and 200).


Milinkovskyi and Platonov were also half of Lake Erie's first-place 200-yard medley relay squad.


Lake Erie's women won 2-of-15 events, and the Storm garnered seconds or thirds in four races. Meri Cizmar won the 100-yard backstroke, touching in with an LEC-record time of 58.64 seconds. Casey Wendall won the 200-yard butterfly, posting a time of 2:20.29.


Additionally, a fourth-place quartet of Cizmar, Lauren Menicucci, Jennifer Scholl and Ashley Rand set a new program record (1:55.62) in the women's 200-yard medley relay.


"Our women's team is really off to an impressive start," said Rose. "We are stronger than ever and really are getting better each week."