Delahunt winds up across bay at CdM

The CdM Aquatics boys' age-group water polo program launches next month.

The head age-group coach is the person who has held the same role across the Back Bay with the Newport Water Polo Foundation for the past eight-plus years.

Same guy, same role, new CdM polo shirt. Corey Delahunt is ready.

"I'm really, really excited to start from pretty much the ground up," Delahunt said. "My goal is to put CdM on the map, as far as the age group program, just get them ready to play Division I water polo in college or wherever they want to play."

Sign-ups for the boys' program are Sept. 7. Delahunt will be the head coach of the 14-and-under boys, with former Newport Harbor and Pepperdine standout Mike Peetz heading the 12-and-under team. Delahunt brought over Peetz from the Newport Harbor age-group program, where they'd coached together.

Former Citrus College coach Stephen Smith will head up the 10-and-under boys.

Delahunt, a 38-year-old Newport Beach resident, will also be an assistant coach for the varsity Sea Kings. It's much the same role he had at Newport Harbor. Since 2003, he had assisted his former high school coach at Costa Mesa High, Jason Lynch. But Lynch was fired in April, and the school hired Robert Lynn, who brought in his staff from Harvard-Westlake.

Lynch landed an assistant coach job at Foothill. Delahunt went across the bay to CdM.

"I knew that [Lynn] was going to bring his own staff in," Delahunt said. "I knew there was going to be some change. It's all good; it worked out for the best. I say it a lot, one thing you can guarantee in life is change.

"I'm excited to come over here and work with Barry O'Dea and his coaching staff. At the same time, I want to wish Robert Lynn and his coaching staff a great year … Things happen for a reason and now I'm over here. I just love coaching water polo. I love teaching kids, and watching them grow to become men."

Delahunt said when he began at the Newport Harbor boys' age-group program, there were about 65 kids. He quickly pushed that number into the triple digits.

O'Dea definitely didn't have to think about it too hard the day late last spring when he heard Delahunt was available.

"I think I called him at lunchtime of a school day, before school even got out," said O'Dea, entering his seventh year as CdM head man. "I think someone had mentioned to me in second period that he was available, and I was on the phone at break.

"I was stoked to get an opportunity to get Corey to come over here. He's someone who I'm more than excited to work with. I think he does an awesome job. The guys all like him, and he's a hard worker and a legit coach."

The CdM boys' program has long been run by Ted Bandaruk, but now it will be overseen by the high school coaches. There are more reasons O'Dea and Delahunt are optimistic. The CdM Aquatics girls' program, which was launched in March by high school girls' coach Sam Bailey, had a strong Junior Olympics this summer. The 18-and-under girls finished ninth and the 14Us finished 12th.

"We're pretty stoked to get this age-group thing started," O'Dea said. "Ted ran a great program for a long, long time. We're hoping to put something together that will work for us and where we want to go. Now we're going to be a top-to-bottom type program [youth to high school-age players], which is nice and fluid. We're all on the same page. It's going to be fun."

Delahunt, who holds the Costa Mesa High single-season scoring record (161 goals in 1990) and went on to win two state titles at Golden West College, thinks so too. He said he's thankful for all of the support he received during his time at Newport Harbor, and that it's not really too weird to go from the Sailors to the rival Sea Kings.

"It was a no-brainer to come over to CdM," Delahunt said. "I live in Newport, I was born in Newport and I want to coach in Newport."

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