The562’s coverage of water polo & swimming is sponsored by the Aquatic Capital of America Foundation.
The562’s coverage of Long Beach Wilson Athletics is sponsored by Joel Bitonio, Class of 2009.
The562’s coverage of Long Beach Poly athletics in the 2022-23 school year is sponsored by Poly alum Jayon Brown and PlayFair Sports Management.
The562’s coverage of Long Beach Poly athletics in the 2022-23 school year is sponsored by JuJu Smith-Schuster and the JuJu Foundation.
The sights, sounds and historical significance surrounding the annual Moore League swim meet between Long Beach Poly and Wilson makes it an event unlike any other.
Adding to the drama of Friday’s meet is the fact that it’s probably the last time the two oldest high schools in Long Beach swim against each other in the Wilson High’s Pete Archer Aquatics Center. The old indoor pool is going to be replaced by an outdoor pool that should break ground this summer.
When asked what that meant to her, Wilson’s longtime girls’ swim coach Maggi Twinem felt, “Blessed that I was here to watch it.”
“It’s amazing all the records and great swims from both schools that have been part of this pool and part of this history,” she said.
The Poly boys added to that history by beating Wilson 104-66 in one of the most lopsided results the rivalry has seen in years. Senior Colin Geer led the Jackrabbits with wins in the 200 Medley Relay, 200 Individual Medley, 100 Butterfly and the 200 Freestyle Relay.
“I grew up with a lot of these kids in Belmont Shore so the rivalry is a lot of fun and both teams really want to win,” Geer said. “You really feel the emotion in here with the crowd into it… it’s inside so you hear everything so it’s definitely a different environment. I’ve gotten used to it, but some other kids are still getting used to it. This is something special Long Beach has, for sure.”
Geer and the Jackrabbits are trying to snap the Wilson league winning streak at a California-best 49 years. They’ll get their chance at league finals late next month.
“We want to break the streak and I think this is the team that can do it,” Geer said. “This team is confident, they bring high energy to practice, and we’re grinding. If we get five more good weeks of training we’ll look really good at league finals.”
After a warmup mishap forced Geer to get stitches under his right eye, he was only able to swim with a kick broad this week before the meet. It clearly didn’t hinder his performance.
The Poly boys won 10 of the 11 races as Wilson’s Wyatt Mitchell took the 200 Freestyle. Poly’s Reece Hammond picked up wins in the 200 Medley Relay, 50 Freestyle, 100 Freestyle and 200 Freestyle Relay. His teammate Evan Jue won the 200 Medley Relay, 500 Freestyle and 400 Freestyle Relay.
“Everyone steps up because this rivalry is super strong,” Poly coach Ish Pluton said. “Everybody wants to beat the guy next to him, like the last relay, both of them desperately want to beat each other and that leads to phenomenal swims.”
The Wilson girls had their share of impressive swims during their 92-78 win over Poly.
“It’s very different from all of the other meets during our season,” Wilson captain Zoe Grover said. “You can feel the energy and intensity. It motivates you to do even more and do better. It’s a whole different vibe.”
The Bruins won seven of the 11 races while Sammie Hamilton led the way with wins in the 200 Freestyle, 500 Freestyle, 200 Freestyle Relay and 400 Freestyle Relay. Katherine O’Dea also had a great meet with wins in the 50 Freestyle, 100 Freestyle, 200 Freestyle Relay and 400 Freestyle Relay. Both freestyle relays were huge point bumps down the stretch for Wilson.
“You never know which way it’s going to go,” Twinem said. “It was close like it should be because it brings out the best competition. It’s only one step on the way to our ultimate goal, but it was a phenomenal meet to watch.”
There are two more league meet days before the finals on April 27-28 at LBCC.
200 Medley Relay: Poly, 1:54.28 (Brys, Hong, Guavara, Puckett)
200 Freestyle: Wilson, Sammie Hamilton, 1:55.62
200 IM: Poly, Sophia Brys, 2:13.61
50 Freestyle: Wilson, Katherine O’Dea, 25.11
100 Butterfly: Poly, Elonia Lobedecis, 1:05.56
100 Freestyle: Wilson, Katherine O’Dea, 54.20
500 Freestyle: Wilson, Sammie Hamilton, 5:06.52
200 Freestyle Relay: Wilson, 1:48.15 (Newton, Hamilton, O’Dea, O’Dea)
100 Backstroke: Wilson, Vanessa Newton, 1:05.14
100 Breaststroke: Poly, Lauryn Hong, 1:11.73
400 Freestyle Relay: Wilson, 3:42.23 (O’Dea, O’Dea, Grover, Hamilton)
200 Medley Relay: Poly, 1:37.57 (Jue, Fourzon, Geer, Hammond)
200 Freestyle: Wilson, Wyatt Mitchell, 1:46.01
200 IM: Poly, Colin Geer, 1:52.55
50 Freestyle: Poly, Reece Hammond, 22.98
100 Butterfly: Poly, Colin Geer, 50.03
100 Freestyle: Poly, Reece Hammond, 50.48
500 Freestyle: Poly, Evan Jue, 4:55.86
200 Freestyle Relay: Poly, 1:31.56 (Hammond, Kuo, Fourzon, Geer)
100 Backstroke: Poly, Nico Song, 54.79
100 Breaststroke: Poly, Samuel Kuo, 1:00.96
400 Freestyle Relay: Poly, 3:19.66 (Jue, Jue, Sar, Kuo)