After the sprint through a three-week water polo season at Cabrillo High, the Moore League is settling in for swim season, which will run via Saturday tripleheader dual meets back on the Westside.
Wilson’s boys’ swim team has one of the longest league championship streaks in the state going, and they can be expected to tack another year on in 2021. The Bruins have won 47 consecutive league titles dating back to 1973, and are shooting for No. 48 this season.
Longtime Wilson swim coach Eric Berg said the herky-jerky water polo and swim season has been tough on his program.
“We lost 90% of our program for the three-week water polo season, so my goal now is to turn water polo players into competitive swimmers in the span of a few weeks,” he said. “Usually we start that process in January.”
Still, the Bruins are as talented as ever and feature Hank Rivers, who is an elite sprint freestyler and breaststroker and the national (and international youth) level. Berg said the junior is weighing a wide variety of scholarship options and that he’ll be featured in a variety of events for the Bruins this year.
“He’s one of the most talented kids to come through Wilson in a long, long time,” said Berg. “He’s a tremendous athlete and a great student and individual, too.”
The Bruins will also feature LMU signee Kade Margain, Mischa Tracy, Jackson Prosser, and Gray Carson, among others.
Poly coach Eddie Kim said he has numerous CIF-SS qualifiers and that he, too, has been struggling to wrap his head around the speedy season.
“We have Wilson right away to start off the Moore League season,” he said. “This year’s team is very young.”
The Jackrabbits will look to Colin Geer, Colin Jue, Erik Fourzon, Teddy Flores, and Charles Pruett for experience, and hope that freshmen Evan Jue and Sam Kuo can contribute right away.
Lakewood coach Deb Caine said she has a small but mighty group including Chris Thai, Nathan Napohaku, John Borders, and Ryan Martinez.
At Cabrillo, Lawrence Durand has his Jaguars program up to Division 4 and he’s hoping that Nate Lucindo, Guy Gainer, and Jose Mejia can lead the way as four-year varsity swimmers.
Long Beach Poly is looking for a fifth consecutive Moore League championship under Kalani Caldwell, and the Jackrabbits are already the only program other than Wilson to four-peat. Caldwell said it’s been a challenging offseason.
“Last year I was 100% confident in our quest for a fifth title in a row,” she said. “This year, things are so crazy and unpredictable that I’m trying to take things with a grain of salt and be happy with the opportunity for the team to be swimming again.”
Key returners for Poly include Kate Cassiano, Ally Knapp, and Georgia Buffington, as well as underclassmen Trinity Salcedo, Nina Gonzalez, and the talented freshman Sofia Brys.
Caldwell said she’s expecting Wilson to push hard for the title this season. The Bruins are led by a stud freshman, Sammie Hamilton.
At Lakewood, Deb Caine hopes Sydni Spraggins, Riley O’Gara, and Lauren Baker will lead the way. At Cabrillo, coach Emily View said Alondra Nunez, and Anaisa and Malena Maestas will lead the way.