John D. Wilson, Esq.Experience: Capable Swimmer
I came to masters with no swimming experience. Gerry is a phenomenal coach who creates great work-outs, and he has the uncanny ability to get the most out of every swimmer. I cannot envision a coach who is better than Gerry.
Jim WaschekExperience: Newbie Swimmer
I am a Professor of Psychiatry at UCLA, formally (in the 1970s) having competed in the Big Ten in both collegiate football and wrestling. I tried various methods to stay in shape, mainly running and biking, but eventually I had problems with these sports. About ten years ago, a friend from Redondo Beach recommended the master swimming program, and indicated that the UCLA program had a superb coach – Gerry Rodrigues. I entered the program, even though I had never swum competitively. Through Gerry’s encouragement, I learned to swim with the team, competed, and improved every year.
However, Gerry is far more than a good teacher and motivator. His has an uncanny ability to make workouts both challenging and enjoyable for all. Part of this is because of his excellent organizing skills and focus on individual needs, ensuring that each swimmer would be challenged to the max, regardless of their ability.
The Palisades program is extremely fortunate to have such a superb coach and motivator as Gerry Rodrigues.
Robert WangExperience: Newbie Swimmer
Chairman, Our Castle Homes, LLC
I have known Coach Gerry since 2000 and it is without exaggeration when I state that I would not have accomplished my athletic endeavors without Gerry.
I decided that I would participate in the Escape from Alcatraz Triathlon. My challenge was that I did not know how to swim at all when I signed up for the event. When I presented my challenge to Gerry, he expressed concern regarding the wisdom and safety of such an endeavor when I did not know how to swim at all. It was only when Gerry realized that my mind had been made up and that I was going to attempt this endeavor regardless of anyone’s skepticism that he agreed to take on the challenge of teaching me how to swim. Gerry was patient, thoughtful, and relentless in his effort to train me, and he did so without missing a beat while running the Masters program concurrently every evening at the same time. I completed the triathlon successfully (albeit one of the last to exit the water) and this experience remains the most satisfying physical accomplishment of my life.
It is a true and accurate statement that I could not have completed the swim at Alcatraz if not for Coach Gerry’s training; it was the combination of his training technique, communications skills, and importantly his genuine care and concern that made it possible for me to complete one of the most challenging swims in a triathlon. Continuing to train with Gerry, it was easy to realize why Coach Gerry is considered one of the best swim coaches in the country, whether it is a Masters program, open water, or triathlon training.
I was delighted to learn that Gerry is at the Pacific Palisades pool to train triathletes, and conduct trainings in a Masters program and open water swimming. The pool is indeed fortunate to secure such a world class trainer and I believe Coach Gerry will bring prestige and distinction to the Pacific Palisades pool.
Kevin EdwardsExperience: Accomplished triathlete
Boulder, CO. 50-54
I’ve been racing triathlons since 1984. I’ve raced in excess of 150 triathlons at every distance, including 50+ halfs and 9 Ironman distance races. I have qualifyied for Hawaii three times (at Ironman, half-Ironman, and International distance) and raced it twice. I’ve placed in my age group fairly often even though most of my racing has been done in the Boulder area.
I’ve received a lot of swim coaching over the years and I can say without hesitation that Gerry provided me the best, most effective results. He watched me swim once, gave me a few salient tips on stroke, analyzed what I needed, gave me some workouts and after a winter of following his program (swimming alone since I cannot convince him to move to Boulder), I had my best swim year ever, moving up from finishing in the top 70% to top 85%. Bottom line is that Gerry really knows his craft, and is the best swim coach I’ve encountered.
Patrick WenExperience: Capable Swimmer
Gerry’s greatest gift as a coach is how attentive he is to every swimmer in the pool. He very quickly gets to know the ability and potential of each individual swimmer, and then tailors swim sets to the individuals in the pool at that particular workout. As challenging as his workouts can be, he is surprisingly receptive and understanding to all, those who might be trying to balance work, family and other obligations with our swimming goals–he helps us make it work. In short, he is an incredibly versatile coach, who is able to be equally effective with all swimmers, from hardcore fanatics and ex-Olympians to those just seeking a good workout, to beginners and laid-back weekend warriors who want a fun workout.
Gerry is truly a student of the sport and is always keeping up with the latest breakthroughs in exercise science and innovations in stroke technique. In addition, he is a true “fan,” and I will never forget the enthusiasm he showed when recounting his experience attending the 200 meter freestyle finals at the Olympic Games in Athens as being one of the greatest races he’d ever seen. On the deck, all of this knowledge and expertise shows through in his coaching, and if anyone asks him for help with a specific issue he immediately pinpoints the area that needs work. People notice this enthusiasm for the sport, and it is infectious.
As skilled a technician as Gerry is, coaching is as much an art as it is a science, and I really do see him as an artist. A challenging Gerry workout is really a beautiful thing, with a unique blend of sometimes gut-wrenching aerobic/anaerobic threshold work, with just barely the right amount of recovery to create a perfect symmetry. It’s always been uncanny to notice just how creative Gerry’s swim sets are, because he never stops finding ways to make swim sets fresh and exciting, whether it is sprint or endurance work or open water-oriented sets. They can be intricate puzzles or bold stress tests, but they are always original and challenging.
John A. DracupExperience: Newbie Swimmer
I first met Gerry Rodrigues in February 1996, when I was 62 years old and a Professor of Engineering at UCLA. I joined the group to become fit and improve my health. I did know how to float and slowing swim across the pool, but not much more. However, with Gerry’s expert and patient coaching, I soon learned all four of the swim stokes and became somewhat proficient in the breast stroke, the back stroke and the difficult butterfly stroke.
One of Gerry’s most admirable traits is his enthusiasm for swimming and teaching others how to correctly swim. His approach is to announce to each lane exactly what he wants them to do and in what allotted time. So every lane ends their drill at the same time. This procedure built a sense of esprit de corps in the group. I looked forward to swimming each day, thanks to Gerry, and hope to someday be coached by him again. His enthusiasm is infectious and his skill as a couch is unsurpassed.
Mark EllisExperience: Accomplished triathlete
Having known Gerry now for 10 years and swimming under his coaching direction for many of those years, I can confidently say he is one of the finest coaches for pool and open water swimming. I consider it a real privilege to train under his direction. He is very intentional and organized with his coaching plans, hands-on with how he explains each workout, helpful in his critique of one’s stroke and breathing methods, and an all-around good guy to be around. He has impacted my swimming development, both in the pool and ocean, in a very dramatic fashion. I consider him a coach and very good friend.
Lee McCollumExperience: Capable Swimmer
During 25 years of masters swimming I’ve had several coaches and Gerry is by far the best. Gerry has a unique ability to orchestrate his workouts so that swimmers over a wide range of speeds and abilities are equally challenged by matching distances and times to each swimmer’s individual needs. You’re never bored at Gerry’s workouts nor are you overwhelmed. Gerry will give you the tools and techniques to improve and challenge you to do your personal best. My swimming improved dramatically under coach Gerry and I’m looking forward to continuing my masters workouts with Gerry.
Greg PottieExperience: Accomplished swimmer
John AmuedoExperience: Accomplished swimmer
President, Signal Inference, Los Angeles, CA.
I swam in Gerry’s masters programs for 10 years. Gerry is unquestionably the finest collegiate masters coach I have been fortunate to swim with. This observation is based on my long-time (20 year) participation in masters programs at Stanford, Harvard, MIT, USC and UCSD.
Gerry brings a unique combination of talents and qualifications to swim coaching — he is a nationally ranked pool and ocean swimmer himself who provides mechanically grounded technical instruction to all who will listen. Gerry maintains a perpetually optimistic and motivational coaching style on deck, while continuously strives to incorporate new insight and technical innovations into his instruction.
I can recommend Gerry without qualification as a superb swim coach. Before swimming with Gerry at UCLA, I competed as a sprint butterfly and breaststroker with SCAQ, but was a mediocre freestyle swimmer. Gerry encouraged me to train for the annual one-hour postal swim (I had never swum continuously that long before), but to my surprise was able to finish it with a time not too much slower than Mark Spitz (at age 50).
I very much look forward to swimming with Gerry again. Palisades is lucky to have attracted Gerry, and I hope they will make every effort to support him.