It was December 2009, and Aaron Chaney wasn't happy.
The longtime Corona del Mar High girls' water polo coach had just seen his team lose to Back Bay rival Newport Harbor, but he was troubled for other reasons.
For the first time in his nine-year tenure, there was no frosh-soph girls' team at CdM. Numbers were at an all-time low.
"We need to get more girls to come out and play water polo," Chaney told the Daily Pilot at the time. "Newport has a great junior polo program. The best teams in high school are the ones that have the great junior polo programs. In the past, we've had a lot of success. We've had a really strong junior polo program. Our junior polo program has dropped off. And we're working on building it back up. We've lost a lot of girls."
Chaney is now in Hawaii, but first-year Coach Sam Bailey had many of the same concerns when he came into CdM.