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Boys’ Swimming: Long Beach Poly Wins Moore League Title, Ends Wilson’s Historic Streak

The562’s coverage of water polo & swimming is sponsored by the Aquatic Capital of America Foundation.

Everyone on the pool deck at Long Beach City College knew they were about to witness history on Friday night. The only question was, would the magic number be 50 or 1?

From start to finish, the Long Beach Poly boys’ swim team imposed their will on the rest of the Moore League, winning all 11 races to secure a historic league championship. It’s the first Moore League boys’ swim title ever for the Jackrabbits, dating back to the league’s founding in 1957.

Poly’s win also snaps a streak of 49 consecutive Moore League titles for their rival Wilson Bruins, ending the longest league title streak in California history. Not since 1972 has another school gotten to celebrate a Moore League boys’ swimming championship.

Poly head coach Ish Pluton, in his first year in charge of the boys’ swimming program, understood the magnitude of the team’s win on generations of Poly swimmers.

“As a Poly alum and then as a coach, just knowing that there are 49 years worth of guys that never got it, that means the world to me,” said Pluton after taking a celebratory swim with his team. “I know it means the world to the boys, I know there are tons of aquatics alums from Poly that are now over the moon, because this has been a very long time coming. I think the last time another team won there were boots on the ground in Vietnam, so.”

You could go on for hours putting Wilson’s 50-year streak into context. The last time someone else won the Moore League championship a gallon of gas cost just 36 cents, Title IX had yet to pass, the Seattle Mariners didn’t exist yet, and Watergate was still just a hotel.

Needless to say, this moment has been a long time coming for every other team in the league, but it’s been top of mind for Poly in particular. The Jackrabbits have a loaded senior class that was disappointed to come up short last season, and made it their mission to finally break through in 2023.

“To be honest, it’s just nice to one-up the Wilson guys. It’s a good friendly rivalry,” said Poly senior Reece Hammond. “It’s indescribable in words, it’s a dream come true. I used to go to bed at night, last year after the loss, thinking about how nice it would be to win Moore League. And it’s just nice to finally see it really happen.”

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Hammond swept the 50- and 100-yard freestyle, while also contributing to a pair of relay wins for the Jackrabbits. Classmate Colin Geer also won four events, setting league records in both the 200 free and the 100 butterfly while anchoring a pair of relays for the Jackrabbits. 

He put on a show from the first race until the last, and was the final swimmer to touch the wall for Poly, closing out the 4x100 freestyle relay to officially clinch the title.

“It hasn't sunk in for me yet, honestly,” said Geer, who will continue his swimming career next season at the University of Michigan. “I could hear the crowd even in the water, it was crazy. I was just trying to remind myself it was a normal 100, just four laps, I do this all the time, and then I hit the wall and it was so loud. I was trying to live it up, but you can’t soak it all up in that moment. I’ll go home tonight and it’ll set in, but I’m just so proud of this team and I’m so happy right now.”

Coach Pluton praised Geer’s leadership throughout the entire season, along with his team’s focus and work ethic. He knew it would take a full team effort to end such a legendary streak, and that’s exactly what his Jackrabbits delivered.

“As a coach, I couldn't be prouder,” he said. “The one thing that really stands out about this team is how much they cared about each other and how much they swam for each other. I was just the biggest cheerleader on the deck. These kids wanted it, they came to practice every day hungry for it, and it paid off. But it's all on them. I was just there cheering them on. This is one of the best teams any coach could ask for.”

In addition to Hammond and Geer, there were plenty of other standouts for Poly. Lucas and Evan Jue each had a terrific showing on Friday night, with the freshman Lucas winning two individual titles in the 200 IM and the 100 back. Evan, the junior, won gold in the 500 free. Finally, it was senior Erik Fourzon winning the 100 breaststroke for the Jackrabbits.

Wilson was able to keep the team scoring close throughout the meet, finishing second place in nine of the 11 races while consistently dropping times throughout their lineup. But the league’s overall quality cut into Wilson’s depth, a hallmark of their program while building their league title streak.

Cabrillo’s Aharon Villegas-Resendiz and Millikan’s William Terracina were the only individual swimmers not from Poly or Wilson to finish in the top three of any race, with Villegas-Resendiz taking third in the 50 free and Terracina taking bronze in the 100 free. Wilson’s Wyatt Mitchell had a pair of runner-up finishes in the 200 free and 500 free, while teammate Eduardo Dominguez was second in the 100 fly and third in the 100 back.

Only time will tell if Friday’s result is a changing of the guard in Moore League boys’ swimming, or simply an outlier amid historic dominance by one of the preeminent high school sports programs in the country. 

Either way, Poly’s celebration was well earned after more than five decades of waiting. It was a welcome sight for generations of Poly swimmers who never had the chance to call themselves Moore League champions, but the wait is finally over for the green & gold.

Senior Tyler Oatey in particular has a unique connection to the Poly swim program. His grandmother was the first girls’ swim coach at Poly, and his dad was a swimmer and water polo player for the Jackrabbits back in the late ‘80’s. Their family history is interwoven with Poly aquatics, making Friday’s triumph that much sweeter.

“For aquatics, Wilson is normally what they would think of as a powerhouse, you know, they’ve won for 49 years. No one ever thinks of Poly winning,” Oatey said. “My dad has been my number one supporter leading up to all of this, and it means a lot. He got the opportunity to beat Wilson in water polo but never in swim, so I guess we’re even now.”

It’s also another impressive triumph for Pluton, who led the Poly boys’ water polo program to a historic CIF title back in the fall of 2021. That CIF championship was the first for the Poly boys since 1929, but Pluton said Friday’s league title is even more meaningful for the Poly aquatics community.

“It's better to me, because it's Long Beach, than the CIF championship,” Pluton explained. “That was awesome for Poly water polo, but this huge win for Poly swim, in this league rivalry where we have this intense battle every year with Wilson, this is unbelievably cool. 

“And I know the boys are so stoked on it.”


2023 Moore League Boys’ Swim Meet Winners:

200 Medley Relay: Poly (1:38.26)

200 Freestyle: Colin Geer, Poly (1:38.23)

200 IM: Lucas Jue, Poly (1:54.42)

50 Freestyle: Reece Hammond, Poly (21.65)

100 Butterfly: Colin Geer, Poly (47.50)

100 Freestyle: Reece Hammond, Poly (47.12)

500 Freestyle: Evan Jue, Poly (4:41.38)

200 Freestyle Relay: Poly (1:26.30)

100 Backstroke: Lucas Jue, Poly (51.58)

100 Breaststroke: Erik Fourzon, Poly (58.15)

4x100 Freestyle Relay: Poly (3:09.56)

Final Team Standings:

1. Long Beach Poly - 563 points

2. Wilson - 524

3. Millikan - 318

4. Cabrillo - 188

5. Lakewood - 90

6. Jordan - 45

VIDEO: Moore League Boys’ Swimming Finals
PHOTOS: Moore League Boys’ Swim Finals
Tyler Hendrickson
Tyler Hendrickson was born and raised in Long Beach, and started covering sports in his hometown in 2010. After five years as a sportswriter, Tyler joined the athletic department at Long Beach State University in 2015. He spent more than four years in the athletic communications department, working primarily with the Dirtbags baseball program. Tyler also co-authored of The History of Long Beach Poly: Scholars & Champions.