Lakewood Long Beach Poly Millikan Wilson

Swimming: Long Beach Poly Girls Three-Peat For First Time

Story by Julian Lopez


As Long Beach Poly sophomore Josie Liebzeit swam the anchor leg of the 400 yard freestyle relay at the 2018 Moore League girls’ swim finals on Thursday at Cabrillo High, a chant of “three-peat, three-peat” broke out among the Poly faithful.

For the first time in school history, the Jackrabbits won the league title for a third straight year. Poly finished with 546 points followed by Wilson with 456 and Millikan with 336.

“It could not have gone more perfectly,” Poly coach Kalani Caldwell said. “The sun was out. It was just a beautiful day. It was a beautiful day to be a champion. The girls were excited and they swam out of their minds.”

Poly won 9 of the 11 races with Lakewood junior Maelynn Lawrence winning the 200 and 500 free.


From the start of the meet, the Jackrabbits set the tone that they were going to be the team to beat. In the 200-yard medley relay, freshman Victoria Quach, Liebzeit, junior Emily Lester, and senior Anja Oca broke the league record with a time of 1:48:06. Oca also broke the meet record in the 100 butterfly with a time of 55:98.

“It feels so good,” Oca said. “I am just so excited and I am now going after the league record so hopefully in CIF, that is the goal.”

Lester won the 50 and 100 free races and Liebzeit won the 100 backstroke race. The Jackrabbits also won the 200 freestyle relay, making it the first time under Caldwell that Poly won all three relays.

The race of the day came from freshman Kate Cassiano. Not only did she win the 200 yard IM, but “she swam out of her mind” according to Caldwell as she finished with  a time of 2:11:63.

“I actually dropped three and half seconds from my personal best so I was really really happy,” Cassiano said.

Lawrence won the 200 and 500 free for the third straight year. She won the 200 by 2 seconds and cruised to the 500 victory by 16 seconds with a time of 4:59:75.

Unlike last year which came down to the final race, the Jackrabbits had already clinched the championship before the 400 relay but came away victorious with their relay group of 3 freshman and one sophomore.

“The freshmen have really stepped it up,” Oca said. “It is so nice having a team that is so close and everyone is able to contribute and everyone feels like they are a part of the team and it feels amazing.”

“It was so much fun watching it (the 400 relay),” Oca said. “It is so nice that we are able to give them a lead so they can just rock it and thats what they did. They swam so great.”

“The future is bright,” Caldwell said. “The relays all made CIF automatic (qualifying time). Next week, we will see what happens.”

Julian Lopez on Twitter

For the third straight year, Poly is your Moore League girls swim champions! Jackrabbits won 9 of 11 races. @562sports https://t.co/aX8dF98bn8


Mike Guardabascio
An LBC native, Mike Guardabascio has been covering Long Beach sports professionally for 13 years, with his work published in dozens of Southern California magazines and newspapers. He's won numerous awards for his writing as well as the CIF Southern Section’s Champion For Character Award, and is the author of three books about Long Beach history.