Members of the Perris, California swimming community are mourning the loss of Gerry Item, Head Coach of Stingrays Swim Club. On May 23rd, Item collapsed while coaching on-deck and never regained consciousness.
‘Coach Gerry made a huge impact and touched so many people’s life. He wasn’t just a coach to his swimmers, he was a friend, confidant, and a father to them. Words can’t describe how kind and selfless this man was. He believed in his swimmers when they didn’t believe in themselves. BEST COACH EVER!,’ are the words appearing on the Stingrays’ GoFundMe campaign.
Coach Gerry began his own swimming career at Coronado High School in San Diego and he continued on to race for the Indonesian National Team. He competed at the South East Asia (SEA) Games 3 times and racked up 19 gold medals and 3 silvers. Coach Gerry also competed twice in the Asian Games and won 2 silver and 8 bronze medals.
Coach Gerry eventually transitioned as a coach, where in 1998 he and his wife Efi started their own swim club in Indonesia, growing it to four satellite teams and consistently placing top three nationally. Coach Gerry’s success led him to become the Head Coach of the Indonesian National Team several times.
He is survived by his wife, Efi, and 2 children, Nigel and Nicole.