Hall of Fame: Mike Martin-Sherrill (CdM)

July 15, 2001

Richard Dunn

In Mike Martin-Sherrill's heyday, prior to the age of

specialization, swimming and water polo went together like fish in water.

While it was natural for aquatic athletes to compete in both sports,

Martin-Sherrill was not blessed with great height or size, yet still

stretched to the top at the high school and collegiate levels.

After a superb career at Corona del Mar High (circa 1967),


Martin-Sherrill became a two-sport standout at UC Irvine, where he was

inducted into the Athletic Hall of Fame in 1988.

An All-CIF Southern Section water polo player and All-American swimmer

in multiple events at CdM, Martin-Sherrill was highly decorated in both

sports at UCI.

In water polo, Martin-Sherrill was an NCAA Division I All-American

driver, and, in 1970, helped the Anteaters defeat UCLA in sudden-death

overtime for the NCAA championship his senior year.

"There was a long-standing rivalry between us and UCLA,"

Martin-Sherrill said. "UCLA had a lot of players from Fullerton High,

which was a rival of Corona del Mar during the regular season and in the

summer, and UCI had a lot of players from Corona del Mar. It was a great

NCAA championship game (at Belmont Plaza Olympic Pool).

"We would always go up against that UCLA mystique. UCI didn't have

much tradition then."

According to former Corona del Mar and UCI water polo teammate Pat

McClellan, Martin-Sherrill was relentless in the pool, helping the Sea

Kings win back-to-back CIF titles in 1965 and '66, the first two of the

school's 11 CIF water polo championships.

"Mike Martin was a little guy, but he got by on toughness and tried to

wear the opponent down," McClellan said. "I don't think Mike weighed over

150 pounds. He was a skinny guy who could swim forever. There's a place

for guys with the right attitude."

Under Coach Ted Newland, CdM captured its first CIF title in '65, then

Newland moved on to become UCI's first (and only) coach. In the fall of

1966, the Sea Kings won the section championship again, this time under

Coach Cliff Hooper.

"They were two very memorable achievements," said Martin-Sherrill, who

was known in high school and college as Mike Martin, but adopted his

grandfather's last name at age 25 in a tribute to the man who raised him.

With Martin-Sherrill as one of the squad's best swimmers, UCI won

three straight NCAA Division II men's swimming championships, while

Martin-Sherrill earned five gold medals in each his sophomore, junior and

senior years (1969-71), giving him a collegiate total of 16 gold medals

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