With humble means but a rich and loving upbringing, Rodrigues grew up on the Caribbean island of Trinidad where he began swimming at the age of seven.
At the age of 10, he listened to Mark Spitz's 7 gold medal performance at the 1972 Munich Olympics at 3 am via radio and dreamed he too would achieve Olympic success. Beginning in 1972, Gerry began training in open water up to four days a week, three months a year, in preparation for Trinidad’s annual 4K meter open water race. Gerry won that race multiple times, together with another hundred or so other open water victories around the world.
Gerry was awarded an athletic scholarship to Pepperdine University, participated on numerous Trinidad national teams, traveled to numerous countries, won Masters national titles, a few world Masters titles while achieving national and world Masters records, a 28.5-mile swim around Manhattan Island.
He began coaching children and triathletes in the early 1980’s. He created one of the first triathlon clubs in Los Angeles, Team Malibu and also organized the Malibu Masters Swim Club. In 1990, the Sports Club LA contracted Gerry to start its first Masters club. In the 1990's, Gerry and his brother Brendan managed the Southern California Masters Aquatics (SCAQ). He later started the UCLA Masters swim program in 1995.
He has coached many adult athletes in achieving hundreds of top 10 national ranking, scores of national championship titles, many world champions with national and world records as well as mentored and coached a few younger athletes to Olympic gold medals and world championship titles.
Official beach workouts were started at Will Rogers Beach in 1990 and then moved to Manhattan Beach in 1992.
Tower 26 beach workouts for triathletes and open water swimmers started in 2010.
Gerry was honored as the U.S. Masters Swimming Co-coach of the Year in 1992 and was also named the Southern Pacific Masters Swimming Co-coach of the Year shared with Rick Goeden.
Gerry has owned SWIM Magazine and published Swimming World and Swimming Technique Magazines. He also launched swiminfo.com in 1995 and developed and produced with Mike Collins the first open water swimming DVD.
Gerry maintains several core principles and values that have guided him throughout the years:
1. There are no shortcuts
2. There are no secrets
3. You have to show-up with a positive attitude
4. You must believe in yourself
5. You must have a goal
6. You must be patient
7. You must apply yourself diligently in mind, body and spirit.
A coach must be prepared and have a well laid-out plan. Training sessions need be specific and meaningful and must have an absolute and direct purpose with an end result in mind. A mechanism to measure or quantify return or improvement must be in place. The coach should allow the swimmers to learn from other coaches: no coach has a monopoly on technique, training or motivation.
Rodrigues believes that recreational swimming enthusiasts, Masters swimmers and triathletes can all be successful in an ambitious training environment – a structured atmosphere that accommodates both the serious competitor and the casual participant who just wants a workout. A less ambitious format only caters to the lowest common denominator. His motto is simple: You may not be training to be the best athlete in the world or even compete in an event, but you will end up being the best athlete you can be.
- 26.com Tower 26 website
- Testimonials from Athletes on Gerry Rodrigues
- U.S. Masters Swimming Coach of the Year
- Open Water Is Not An Old Mission At Mission Viejo
- Swimming, the Most Complete Enjoyment, Professionally
- Swimming Fast And Slow With Stops Between
- The Open Water Grave By Gerry Rodrigues
- Do You See In The Open Water Or Do You Observe?
- Amateur Swimming Association Trinidad & Tobago
- Marsden Creates Open Water History
- World Open Water Swimming Association