Ryan Bailey should be a can't-miss guy on the Corona del Mar High pool deck this year.
Sure, it helps you stand out in a crowd when you're 6-foot-6. But Bailey, the former UC Irvine standout and three-time Olympian, has the water polo credentials to match.
CdM Coach Barry O'Dea said Tuesday that Bailey will be assisting this year with the Sea Kings, who have a scrimmage at Back Bay rival Newport Harbor today at 4 p.m.
"It was a fateful kind of thing," said O'Dea of getting Bailey, who started working with CdM Thursday. "We ran into each other two weeks ago and started talking. We were training for a day over at Newport, and he was doing a private lesson with another kid. He didn't go back to Europe to play [this year], and he was around."
Bailey, 35, is a big addition at Corona del Mar. The four-time All-American center with the Anteaters went on to become a force at two meters for over a decade for the U.S. men's national team. He helped Team USA win the silver medal at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing.
Bailey has also played professionally in Europe over the years, in countries like Croatia, Russia and Greece. He still trains with the national team. A native of Long Beach, he should help out the Sea Kings a little closer to home.
CdM already has a big center in 6-7 senior Chase Watson, as well as another emerging center in senior Emery Molnar. O'Dea said they'll definitely benefit from Bailey's experience.
"We've had great conversations," O'Dea said. "He's awesome, down to earth. He'll help my younger centers, also. His impact will resonate throughout the whole program."
O'Dea also has former CdM standout Tom Money, who just graduated from USC, on his coaching staff, as well as former UCI player Bill Leach. Kareem Captan and freshman coach Craig Lumb round out the staff.
The Corona del Mar High girls' tennis team opened its year with a scrimmage against Laguna Beach on Tuesday. The Sea Kings, again expected to be one of the top contenders in CIF Southern Section Division I, play at the Fresno Classic this weekend.
"It's a great way for us to start the season," CdM Coach Brian Ricker said. "When we come back, it's kind of an advantage. We get to get all the kinks out [in Fresno]."
But one thing CdM won't be doing is hosting its own tournament this year. The Corona del Mar All-American Tournament, which has in the past matched many of the top teams in the country, won't be happening this year on the girls' side.
The boys' tournament will continue under the direction of former coach Tim Mang.
"Our girls felt like it was another home match, and [reserving] the courts was getting to become an issue," CdM Coach Brian Ricker said. "I basically gave it to Dana Hills."
Indeed, the Dana Hills Coastal Championship will fill the void.
The Dolphins' tournament, scheduled for Oct. 15-16, will feature top teams like the hosts, CdM and Sage Hill, as well as Laguna Beach, Mater Dei and Troy.
The Dana Hills tournament final will be at the Laguna Niguel Racquet Club.
Sage Hill girls' tennis is also busy. The Lightning scrimmaged Santa Margarita Tuesday and open regular-season play at The Tennis Club Newport Beach on Thursday against another Sunset League team, Los Alamitos.
Sage Hill also hosts the Lightning Invitational on Friday and Saturday, at The Tennis Club.
Coach A.G. Longoria said defending champion Santa Ynez returns, and Cerritos, Tesoro and Sage Hill will also be in the round-robin tournament that concludes at 3 p.m. Saturday.
He said Cerritos may be the favorite this year.
Longoria said he expects Sage, which moved up from CIF Southern Section Division IV, to be in the top 10 in the Division III poll.
Though the results aren't official, they won seven of 10 singles sets against Santa Margarita and all 14 doubles sets.