Los Angeles Times

Water Polo: CMHS hires Serrano twins to coach boys' and girls' teams

Many say, "it's all about timing," when referring to a good relationship. Perhaps the same could be said for Costa Mesa High School and its hirings for coach of the boys' and girls' water polo teams.

Time will tell, but the majority at Costa Mesa believe identical twin brothers Cody and Dustin Serrano are the perfect fit for the Mustangs.

The brothers were announced as coaches of each team Friday, Costa Mesa Athletic Director Sharon Uhl said.

"They are alumni and graduated from the school in 2009," Uhl said. "They have a really good following, and they coached in the Costa Mesa Aquatics Club program. We thought it would be a good way to go because of the future and the easy transition for the kids.

"We had a really good candidate pool. It was crazy how many great applicants we had."

Uhl said Costa Mesa chose Cody to coach the boys' team and Dustin to lead the girls' squad, but the brothers refer to themselves as co-coaches, just as they do for CMAC.

They said they started coaching for the club, that started in November 2010, because they believed they would help the future of their alma mater.

Recently, Tim Postiff stepped down as Costa Mesa girls' water polo coach to spend more time with his family and Justin Taylor also resigned as the boys' coach because his wife just gave birth to their own set of twins in May, Uhl said.

"When we heard about the openings, we both jumped right on it," Cody Serrano said. "We didn't hesitate."

Cody spoke during a phone interview as the Serranos are in the Bay Area with CMAC for the Junior Olympics. His brother was driving, as they were planning to visit tourist spots before competing on Saturday.

Last year, the coaches guided the 12U boys' team to a JO gold medal, CMAC's first, in its division.

The twin brothers gained more coaching experience by going through the Olympic Development Program coaching camp in Colorado Springs, Colo., earlier this year, Cody said.

They take pride in CMAC and now are excited to see what can happen in high school competition.

"All of our [CMAC] players are home grown," Cody said. "Not a single player really knew water polo before coming in. We taught every single one how to play."

Cody said he and his brother are passionate about wanting the school to succeed. During this summer, they said they directed optional workouts at the school's pool in the early mornings.

The workouts helped for sure, Cody said. While the boys' team is in transition with the coaching change, the Mustangs are also dealing with the loss of All-Orange Coast League goalie James Rydjeski, who has transferred to Edison.

Cody said, they got a good look at Ivan Shikhelman to become the Mustangs' goalie.

Rydjeski set a program single-season record for saves with 325 last year when the Mustangs went 19-8, finished second in league and reached the CIF Southern Section Division 2 playoffs.

"We wish him the best of luck to be successful in his senior year," Cody said of Rydjeski. "We have pretty solid group of seniors (Quinn Smith, Raymond Andres, Trent Teague, Matt Brown). I'm looking forward to the season. I don't see that why we can't do great things this year."

Cody also said this season will be significant because it will be the first year for incoming freshmen from CMAC.

"We'll be seeing if they can be ready for varsity," Cody said. "Four of them are becoming freshmen, Augie Cunningham, Jacob Garcia, Blake Hudson and Anthony Shin."

"For the future, we are striving to become league champs and make it far in CIF," Cody said. "We want the players to make it to college and to play in college, to see them succeed on a higher level."

The Serrano twins played beyond Costa Mesa, as they competed at Long Beach State and Orange Coast. They have a strong brotherhood which shows in their coaching as they share many of the same philosophies.

"I'm the oldest by only two minutes," Cody says. "It's close enough that [Dustin] doesn't really count it."

Cody said he and Dustin, who turn 23 on Aug. 7, want to continue coaching and teaching. They have one more semester at OCC before transferring back to Long Beach State next year.

For now, they just want to get to work for Costa Mesa High.

"We're super excited to get started," Cody said. "Hopefully we can take our team to a great season and new heights."

In other news, Uhl said she is Costa Mesa's athletic director for boys' and girls' teams, as Jim Kiefer stepped down as the boys' A.D. at the end of the school year.

Uhl, who has been at Costa Mesa for 17 years and with the Newport-Mesa Unified School District for 31 years, can say she had a great start to her position this year with the Serrano hires.

She said the Serrano brothers add to the excitement around campus that the school continues to improve, now under the direction of a new principal, Jacob Haley.

"We are heading in the right direction," Uhl said. "Our new enclave is opening up. Our new stadium is coming. I'm looking forward to the school year."

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