The Bird. Turtle. The Backstroke King.
They are known as three of Newport Harbor High's greatest athletes. Newport Harbor's "Big Three" can also be known as among the best in CIF Southern Section history.
George Yardley (basketball), Misty May-Treanor (volleyball) and Aaron Peirsol (swimming) are featured in the CIF Southern Section's "100 Athletes for 100 years," and represent the inaugural CIF Southern Section Athletes Hall of Fame, it was announced Monday.
Each of the Sailors' athletes hold a special place in Newport Harbor's Long Gray Line, and went on to reach stardom in the NBA for Yardley, and with Olympic gold for May-Treanor and Peirsol.
The list of 100 for the section's 100th anniversary was based on athletes who competed in the CIF Southern Section and ranged from success at all levels (high school, collegiate, Olympic and professional ranks).
"It says a lot about the area and the school itself," Newport Harbor High girls' volleyball coach Dan Glenn said of Newport Harbor having three athletes on the CIF Southern Section list. "It's very impressive."
Glenn has a strong connection with the three stars. He coached May-Treanor. Perisol was a student in his classroom. Glenn also knew Yardley, as well as his children and coached his grandchildren, Kyle and Cody Caldwell at Newport Harbor.
"We're in an area where there are a lot of elite athletes who train here," Glenn said. "The kids are aware of that and they grow up and see that in the area."
May-Treanor made the list as a 1995 grad of Newport Harbor. After leading the Sailors to two CIF State championships she won an NCAA title at Long Beach State, where she was named NCAA Player of the Year. She later became a beach volleyball legend.
She has three Olympic gold medals and one bronze, and has a women's record 112 beach tournament victories during a pro career that began in 1999. Her career winnings were listed at more than $2.1 million.
She teamed up with Kerri Walsh Jennings for the London Olympics this past summer and the duo won their third straight Olympic gold medal.
They defeated a team that featured another Newport Harbor great, April Ross, along with Jennifer Kessy in the gold-medal match.
May-Treanor and Walsh Jennings won gold medals at the 2008 Beijing and 2004 Athens Games. They dominated the sport in the Olympics, as the won every match they competed in and lost just one of 43 sets.
May-Treanor's popularity reached celebrity status, as she's made appearances on various TV shows, including, "Dancing With the Stars," and also made it on the Wheaties box.
She went out on top, retiring after the Olympics. She was named USA Volleyball's Athlete of the Year in women's beach volleyball.
"She always made everyone around her better," Glenn said of May-Treanor.
He said he enjoyed the way May-Treanor treated everyone the same and how she remained the same person while gaining popularity in volleyball.
Glenn said Peirsol was the same as a renown swimmer.
"I enjoyed having him in class," Glenn said of Peirsol. "He was very humble. Fantastic student."
Peirsol won five Olympic gold medals in swimming, specializing in the backstroke. He still holds world records in the 100-meter backstroke (51.94) and 200 back (1:51.92) for long course.