The Long Beach Poly swim program made history on Friday, sweeping Wilson in a dual meet for the first time ever, with both teams winning by a score of 100-70.
It was the first time a Moore League boys team had beaten Wilson in a dual meet since 1972. The Bruins have won every dual meet and every league title since then, a historic 44 year streak of perfection: it’s the longest active league championship streak in California.
“It’s a culmination of a lot of hard work by our boys,” said fifth-year Poly boys coach Eddie Kim. “Finals is everything now, we can’t let it end here.”
While the Poly team did something historic Friday, the real story now becomes the Moore League Finals, which will be held May 4-5 at Cabrillo. If Wilson comes back and wins the league finals by a good margin, the Bruins could still end up as co-league champions or sole league champions.
That didn’t stop the Poly team and crowd from a loud and rowdy celebration, as star Jackrabbit senior Jack Neton climbed the team’s diving platform to lead a cheer after the final race.
Neton, who is signed with Seattle U, anchored a relay win in the 200 medley relay and claimed individual wins in the 100 breaststroke and the 200 individual medley.
Neton said it was fun swimming in a natatorium that was ear-splittingly loud from start to finish.
“This was the most intense meet environment I’ve ever been in,” he said. “It just feels so good to be a part of this team and to make history with these guys. I’ve been swimming since I was seven and this is a real highlight.”
The Jackrabbit boys won nine of the 11 events, with Marco Bauk winning the 100 butterfly, Sam Leonard winning the 100 freestyle and 100 backstroke, and Elijah Magalong winning the 50 free. Neton recalled that Wilson swept the 50 free his freshman year, but it was Poly who took the top three spots on Friday, as Bauk, Miles Motley, and Chris Correa put Poly in great shape with the sweep.
Wilson won the 400 free relay and got its only individual race win from Mazen Abouelela, a freshman who won the 200 free. The Bruins will be stronger in May, as they were without Jack Berg, one of their top swimmers, who was ill on Friday.
The Poly girls win was less of a shock, given that the Jackrabbits claimed last year’s league title and returned a ton of talent. They also won by 30 points, winning eight of the 11 races.
Anja Oca broke her own school record in the 100 butterfly with a time of 0:57.89, one hundredth of a second faster than the previous best. She also set a personal record in the 100 back by a full second, finishing in 0:59.22. Isabella Magalong won the 200 IM and the 100 breaststroke, while Josie Liebzeit claimed gold in the 200 free and the 500 free.
Poly girls coach Kalani Caldwell was quick to point out that her role players were as important as the ones winning.
“You can win every race and still lose the meet,” he said. “We wouldn’t have won without Fion Quach on the relay, and our B relays with Emily Lester, Darby Huff, and Brenna Knapp.”
“This means so much, to have both teams win like this,” said Oca. “I have a brother on the boys team and seeing the look on his face was amazing.”
“We’re all a little shocked, to be honest,” said Magalong. “I don’t think any of us will forget this day.”
Caldwell’s team is well aware of the need to finish a season strong at league finals, having previously beaten Wilson in a dual meet only to see the Bruins snatch the crown on the last day of the year. The two teams have had a nice rivalry the last five years, with each team winning three titles (they shared it in 2012 and Wilson won the previous 10 titles).
Wilson got wins in the 50 and 100 free from Mia Tedesco, a Hawaii signee who’s among the CIF favorites in those events. Tedesco also anchored a 400 free relay win to end the day.