I first met Gerry Rodrigues many years ago when he was the swimming coach for my two sons, Grant (now aged 48) and Brian (46). I observed his coaching techniques and his interaction with the swimmers he was coaching. I found that he gave individual attention to each swimmer, pointed out how that swimmer could improve technique; all while setting and overseeing timed exercises. His suggestions were valid and. over time, led to improvement in performance and technique by those he coached.
I admired the manner in which he ran the program. He was always patient and courteous. I never heard him raise his voice in anger or frustration when dealing with a swimmer. When swimmers compared him to the other coaches that ran their exercises, he always was described in complimentary–often glowing–terms.
He practiced what he preached. He kept in excellent shape, participated in ocean swims and encouraged others to do so. For years, he was among the top swimmers in competitive meets. Indeed, he won more competitive meets than other swimmer I know. I was kept informed of his prowess by my son, Grant, who often participated in the same competitive events and, without fail, when I asked him who the overall winner was; he always replied that Gerry led the entire pack.
I was so impressed by what I observed that I joined the workouts with my sons. He always had time for me, even though I was one of the slowest, if not the slowest, swimmer. Through his suggestions, my swimming improved. Indeed, he taught and inspired me enough that, many years ago, I joined my son, Brian, in an ocean swim from the Redondo Beach pier to the Manhattan Beach pier. I was one of the last to finish, but, thanks to Gerry, I finished.
I am happy to learn that Gerry will be the swim coach at a pool in the Palisades. I live in Santa Monica. At the age of 73, I will undoubtedly ask Gerry if I can join one of his classes. That is the highest possible compliment I can pay him.