Lakewood Long Beach Poly Swimming Wilson

Wilson, Poly Swimmers Nab Top Honors At Klaus Barth Invitational

The 60th annual Klaus Barth Rock n’ Roll Invitational swim meet was another big success this year, with a venue change. The meet had always been held at the Belmont Plaza Pool and was a longtime favorite of students and fans alike.

Since the demolition of the Belmont, the event has struggled to overcome complaints from nearby residents that the loud music and whistles of the longtime city institution was bothering them at the new outdoor Belmont pool. So this year, the Invite moved to Cabrillo, where it was well-attended and featured some fast times.

“We just want to continue the legacy of this event for our community and our kids,” said Wilson boys’ swim coach Eric Berg. “It’s important to us.”

Los Alamitos won the team title, but it was a Bruin and a Jackrabbit who stole the show individually, with Wilson’s Hank Rivers winning Boys’ Swimmer of the Meet and Poly’s Emily Lester winning Girls’ Swimmer of the Meet.

Rivers, a freshman, arrived on campus at Wilson this year with a sizable reputation and has delivered on it already. Rivers was named the Boys’ Swimmer of the Meet after setting a new Wilson school record in the 50 free with a 21.05, breaking a school record he’d set last week. A freshman holding a record like that at the nation’s best aquatic talent-producing school is a good example of why Wilson coaches and fans have been so excited about Rivers this year. He also won the event’s 100 free race.

Long Beach Poly’s Lester was named the Girls’ Swimmer of the Meet after winning two individual events and swimming on two winning relays. Lester anchored a record-breaking 200 medley relay and the 200 free relay, while winning the 50 free (24.89) and the 100 free (54.29).

Lakewood’s Maelyn Lawrence, a UCSB signee, also turned in several standout performances and will be a favorite to win the distance freestyle events at Moore League finals in a few weeks.

PHOTOS: Klaus Barth Invitational Swimming

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.