April 1, 2017
Coach Gerald's Retirement Luncheon
Sunday April 9th 1pm
Note date change due to Gerald's Travel Schedule changing.
Anyone that that would like to show their appreciation to Gerald may attend. Current or former team members, members of the Socal Swim community, or anyone else that has benefited from Coach Gerald's efforts. Everyone is welcome, please RSVP
2791 Pintura Cir S Palm Springs , CA 92264
Enter Pintura at gate on Araby. When you RSVP you will receive the gate code.
Please RSVP by Thursday April 6th. Either respond to Facebook post, send text to 760 318-SWIM, or email firstname.lastname@example.org letting us know how many will attend. Lunch will be served.
An optional donation is requested of $5 per person or $10 per family to be used towards the party with any additional funds (larger donations will be accepted as well) used to support Piranha Swimmers in a manor that will be Gerald’s choice. The donation will be tax deductible.
In the year 2004, the Red Sox broke the curse, the Patriots won a close Super Bowl that was overshadowed by a Janet Jackson Halftime show, and the Govenator took over California. Kabballah and Livestrong bracelets were everywhere. Anchorman and Napolean Dynamite were often quoted movies. Myspace was popular but a new site named Facebook made its debuted. An 18 year old named Michael Phelps went to the Athens Olympic games and came home with 8 medals. That’s also the same year a parent on the team named Gerald Lim would begin an era that ended last week. It began with an offer to support the program his daughters swam for on deck and behind the scenes.
In 2004 the Piranhas were at about 130 members. Since then 6 different Head Coaches have lead the team, around 2000 swimmers have come through the program, 8 different facilities have regularly hosted Piranha workouts, and PST Swimmers have competed in about 500 meets at every level from the beginning Red White (then BC) meets to Junior Olympics and in two Olympic Games. The journey from 2004 to today had some tough spots, involved lots of change, but over all was a process that has lead to our team being almost 400 strong today and ranked in the top third of the country of the USA Swimming Virtual Club Championships. Only two things have been consistent in that time frame. One being the Palm Springs Swim Center has been our home base and two being Dr. Gerald Lim has been involved with the operations of the Piranha Swim Team.
I believe those two things go hand in hand. Gerald has been the unofficial maintenance guy at PSSC, doing things to make the pool more swimmer friendly and improving our swimmers experience while improving the overall use of the Swim Center. Installing lane line chains, engineered the pulley system for the flags, constructing a system to cool off the pool. He would fight for Piranha Pool time, repair blocks, lane lines, connectors, flags, and even clean the bathrooms during meets. Just a few of the thankless tasks Coach Gerald took on regularly and without hesitation that you probably didn't know about.
His dedication to the Piranha Swim Team goes well beyond maintenance. Gerald served on the Piranha Board of Directors for the better part of 10 years. Served on hiring committees, booster clubs, and meet manager committees when needed. Gerald worked with the City concerning lane space. Used his professional connections to get donations for the team. Helped reduce staff travel costs by donating use of his condo in Mission Viejo. Contributed his own money at times. Contributed his time as a coach valued in the amount of hundreds of thousands of dollars. In the 15 years of coaching Gerald has done, he never collected a pay check. To say Gerald worked hard and left a positive impact on this club would be an understatement. Now let's not forget that Gerald has a career outside of this club that he sacrificed at times for our team and it makes it that much more of an act we should appreciate.
On top of his work for this club, Gerald has a Dental practice he runs with the help of Maureen, his long time wife. I think both Gerald and Maureen would say their biggest success though comes in their daughters. The fact Gerald and Maureen raised two daughters that are both PST record holders today, USC graduates, alumni of the Trojan Swim Team, and both Scholastic All Americans is something they are very proud of.. Oldest daughter Elaine has a business management degree with a Psychology minor, was an Academic All American and PAC 12 Scholar Athlete and today works in the International Technogy Business field, living in Los Angeles. Younger daughter Lynette is a two time Olympian and All American Swimmer at USC where she currently is attending USC’s dental school. Lynette has been seen the last few years on deck helping the team out as a volunteer. She helped the club move forward during a time when I really struggled. We should all be grateful in the support that Elaine, Lynette, and especially Maureen gave Gerald as he worked hard for our program. They deserve much credit in allowing Gerald to peruse his “hobby” of coaching as he likes to call it.
Speaking of hobbies, lets talk about Gerald’s life outside of family and his career. He couldn’t have time for anything else could he? Many people don't know Gerald was a professional Squash player. He has been a nationally ranked swimmer in Singapore, but he was also a World Champion in Deep Sea fishing and free diving. The sport of hunting and fishing has been a constant part of Gerald’s life over the years. Some would say his coaching duties probably saved a few animals lives because he didn't have as much time to persue hunting and fishing while coaching. Lobster diving, fishing, duck, and deer hunting. He prepares like crazy for these activities, much like he prepared our swimmers. With attention to details and lots of practice. He trained for a Hunting trip this past summer by hiking all the way up the tram multiple times. Not the tram road, the top of the tram. Then spent the night, so he could adjust to the altitude then hiked down the next morning. He spent hours taking target practice with his bow and arrow and practice rifles. Scouted and traveled, often in the middle of the night in between workouts or between meet days, to remote spots in Arizona and Nevada. Then driving home hours and hours in time for workout. These are all great passions of Gerald's, but the hobby he was passionate about the most was our gain. But I wouldn’t say coaching or swimming itself was Gerald’s passion. Improving the self reliance, courage, and discipline of those around him while improving our team was his true passion and I see it.
Gerald relished in the success of our team like no other. The least ego driven coach ever. The most selfless and humble person when it came to him personally, he was in it for all the right reasons. I am fortunate to have a career in swim coaching. It's easy to forget that and lose appreciation sometimes as do most people in their career of choice. Gerald's example of time and dedication while volunteering and maintaining a career and family was a great reminder to appreciate the opportunity when things may be down. His last day of work finished like many other days before it. With Gerald thanking me for the privilege of coaching this team. Coach Gerald never accepted pay for coaching, was always willing to step back and take the group he was needed with the most. Would fill any roll asked. Which is why one of the first things I did when arriving here was to restructure the groups and staff and make Gerald my right hand man. But he is so much more than that to me. He has been a mentor, an example, a friend, a reality check, and a supporter of the Piranhas like no other person. A selfless leader that has made an impact on the team and on many peoples lives that will be felt for years to come and will extend well beyond the pool.
I am going to miss Gerald very much. This team will miss Coach Gerald very much. I’m sure as he moves on to other things in life he will be around and keeping an eye on us. There is no greater way we can honor Coach Gerald than to go on to better things individually in and out of the pool and collectively as a team. His humble and honest approach to coaching drew from experience as an athlete and a parent. Both the goods and the bads. He didn't sugar coat mistakes he made himself when trying to build up these swimmers, improve those around him, or educate the parents. I can tell you he passionately cares about this team and this teams athletes. His impact will be a legacy that I hope is still rewarding to him as he sees where we all take things from here.
Thank you Coach Gerald for making us believe in ourselves, become more honorable and courageous individuals, picking us up after mistakes, building up our confidence again and again. Your words reminding us all to be proud of what we accomplish individually and as Piranhas will continue. You have shaped our members into better people in and out of the water, myself included. We will all miss you and I'll miss working with my friend.