Mary Giles didn't want to let her team go.
But last month's heat wave, which saw temperatures rise to 105 degrees on the pool deck, made maternity leave a necessity.
"It was a little too exhausting," said the Ventura College women's water polo coach, who is nearly nine months pregnant with her second child.
Already 7 1/2 pounds, Makayla Giles is due to arrive next week.
Ventura College swimming coach Larry Baratte, who previously coached water polo at VC from 1988-99, has taken over Giles' whistle.
"He's got a great group of girls," Giles said. "And how nice is it to have a Hall of Fame coach available to take over?"
Considering the Pirates are the unprecedented four-time defending Western State Conference champions, Baratte's pinch-coaching role comes with some pressure.
"I don't worry that much about those types of things," Baratte said. "We'll be fine... Mary had a good foundation."
The sophomore quartet of Jenna Cutino, Anais Geysmonion, Emily Pinsky and Olivia Barry, plus freshmen like Ashley Runyon and Jerilyn Hollis and ahead of goalie Kayla Haas have the Pirates (10-5, 2-0) atop the WSC standings.
"They're all very complementary of each other," Baratte said. "They're really the foundation of the team, Emily is very solid and reliable... Anais is a good shot, Jenna really has been an outstanding defensive player for us. Olivia has always been unsung. She's our best conditioned swimmer and has to take the other teams' fastest swimmer or most talented athlete.
"All four of those girls have specific roles to fill."
Giles handed over a three-game winning streak on Sept. 24, which Baratte extended to seven games before VC, without Geysmonion, dropped a pair of games to finish third in its tournament Sunday.
Pinsky had three goals, Barry had five steals and Haas made nine saves in 10-9 loss to Chaffey. Barry leads the WSC in assists with 26.
"It's a nice group to work with," Baratte said. "We're learning. We're trying to get better every day. I think we'll put ourselves in a good position... We'll see what happens."
Giles, who is married to Thousand Oaks boys' water polo coach Mike Giles, attended the VC tournament and has already circled Nov. 2-3 on her calendar.
That's the weekend when Ventura hosts the WSC Championships.
"It's already scheduled," Giles said.