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Volding back on deck

Longtime coach retired three years ago, but improved health has brought him back to lead CdM girls' swimming.

March 12, 2012|By Matt Szabo
  • Corona del Mar girls' swim coach Doug Volding with Diana Murphy, left, Pippa Saunders, Victoria Pierotti, Shannon McCormick, front row, and Alex Dickens, left, Hollace Barden, Alex Musselman, and Natalie Wong back row. (Scott Smeltzer)] *** []
Corona del Mar girls' swim coach Doug Volding with… (Scott Smeltzer,…)

In an office, or on the pool deck coaching girls, Doug Volding has long been a counselor for Corona del Mar High.

He resigned as CdM girls' swimming coach in 2009. A year later, he retired from counseling at the high school.

Retiring from counseling made sense to Volding. Leaving the girls' swimming position was something harder to take, but necessary as he battled health issues.

A comeback seemed unlikely.

"I really never wanted to leave the sport, but I was feeling so rotten," Volding said. "There was a time when I didn't think I could do it ... I really like to give [the girls] a feeling of 'get up and go.' If I'm not feeling that way [myself], I'm coming across like that, and that's not good for me."

Volding said now he feels rejuvenated.

After the three-year hiatus, he has returned to coach the CdM girls for his 26th year this spring. Barry O'Dea, who has overseen the whole program in Volding's absence, remains the boys' coach. Stephanie Gabert, who swam at CdM under Volding before graduating in 2007, remains on staff as well as a varsity assistant for both the boys and girls.

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The Sea Kings are happy to have Volding back. And he is happy to be back.

"I love doing this," said Volding, 62. "I thoroughly enjoy the coaches I've met, and many of the refs are friends of mine. It keeps me younger too. I want to contribute to [the girls'] enthusiasm and health, and I want them to enjoy themselves out here."

O'Dea said Volding approached him early in the school year about his desire to return. O'Dea had no qualms.

"I was bummed when he retired," O'Dea said. "When he said he was feeling great and he wanted to come back, I thought it was awesome, because he and I work so well together. It's exciting.

"He's a good mentor for me, and we bounce ideas off of each other. He was one of the people I loved working with when I first got here, and it's great to have him back again."

Volding's credentials are impressive. From 2003-2006, Corona del Mar finished top two in CIF Southern Section Division II each year. The Sea Kings won the title in 2004 and 2006.

Volding said on some of those teams he had 90 to 100 girls. Now, he has 40. The emergence of other girls' sports, such as lacrosse, has perhaps lessened the number of swimmers in the program.

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