Long Beach Poly Water Polo

Long Beach Sports Top 10 Moments Of 2021: Long Beach Poly Water Polo Makes History

In the 1910s and 1920s, the Long Beach Poly boys’ water polo team was one of Southern California’s best sports programs, winning 11 CIF-SS titles between 1912 and 1929. Since then? Not so dominant, as the Jackrabbits have been the definitive second-place team in the Moore League behind Wilson for the last several decades. The Bruins are still on top, but with the advent of the new CIF-SS competitive equity playoff format, other teams now have chances at championships in lower divisions, where they can compete against programs of similar quality.

The Jackrabbits got that chance this year in the Division 4 playoffs and more than took advantage, with a thrilling and historic ride to a championship, the program’s first in 92 years, and that’s why it’s our No. 5 Long Beach sports moment of the year.

The last time Poly won a water polo championship, the city’s breakwater hadn’t been built and the earthquake that leveled the school’s campus (and much of the rest of town) was still a few years off.

It was a thrilling championship, with Poly falling behind 5-1 after the first quarter then rallying to defeat Crespi 14-11.


“This means so much to us, it means so much to me,” said Poly coach Ish Pluton. Like Poly’s entire coaching staff, Pluton is an alumni of the school and water polo program. “I came back to coach Poly water polo because of how much of a family it was when I was a player. To be able to come back and be the coach and to be a part of this family again, having a group of boys that can accomplish this–it truly means the world to me. And to so many Poly alums who share that same sense.”

Poly’s standouts included CIF-SS Player of the Year Chaz Pruett, goalie Charlie Lemmis, Reece Hammond, Beau Wade, and Tyler Oatey.

Long Beach Poly Boys’ Water Polo Wins Historic CIF-SS Championship Over Crespi

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.