THE Davao City swimming community mourns the death of veteran swimming coach Jerry Kasim who succumbed to a heart attack during the swimming course of the Alveo Ironman 70.3 Davao Sunday, March 26. He was 49.
His younger sister Sanita Kasim Soreny, a former national dragon boat team member now based in the United Kingdom, said his sudden death left the family by surprise as they were not aware of any heart-related disease he may have had.
Soreny said her brother was brought to Southern Philippines Medical Center (SPMC) but could no longer be revived.
Kasim, who resides in the Island Garden City of Samal but stays in Km. 11 in Sasa whenever he stays in Davao City, will be buried on Monday, March 27, following the 24-hour customary burial Muslim tradition.
Kasim, who came from a family of swimmers, is a seasoned tanker who represented the city and the region in several Palarong Pambansa and National Prisaa Games during his high school and college years. He became a coach and trainer to age-group swimmers and eventually formed his Jerry Aquatics Swimming Team.
Decorated swimming coach Haroon Cali said, in a Facebook interview, that he and Kasim were not close but talk when they see each other, usually in tournaments.
"Ganina same zone mi, gitawag ko niya, nag good luck lang (We were on the same zone, he called me to say good luck)," Cali recalled, adding that Kasim was also competing in the relay team.
Kasim, an employee of Deped Davao City's disbursing section, is survived by his two children, who are both swimmers. His eldest child coaches the DMMA College Southern Philippines (DCSP) swimming team.
Soreny said, "He is a good kuya (brother). We always run to him for help. He always said he doesn't have any, but he does help all the time in terms of financial problems."
Deped employee Lydia Ampo, in a separate interview, said: "Buutan kaayo na sya. Trainer sya sa private ug public. Hilumon na sya pero daghan na sya na train na mga bata. Ginakuha na sya trainer sa Deped (He is very kind. He is a private and public trainer. He is quiet but he has trained many children. Deped also hires him as a trainer.)
Swimmer Andi Espiritu took to Facebook, saying that Kasim coached him since he was a kid. "You saw potential in me, which made me want to continue swimming and pursue to be a competitive swimmer to the point that when we have training before comps, I would get pissed off if I was a minute late and the other swimmers would get pass me, even though I knew I could beat them. You were a second father to me."
Espiritu said Coach Jerry fulfilled his dream of becoming a competitive swimmer at the national level.
"It will take time for me to recover mentally, but I will make sure that I will pursue swimming and dedicate all my games to you. You mean so much to me, Coach, and you will forever stay in my heart. I love you, coach, rest easy," Espiritu added.
Kat Elises, the mother of bemedalled Dabawenyo swimmer John Paul, a De La Salle University varsity swimmer, also shared on Facebook that Coach Jerry taught her boys to swim and "so many more that they need in life."
"Thank you so much, Coach Jerry. I know you are proud of JP and his achievements. Happy din kami because the last thing you did was something you really wanted to do. Bye, coach. Until we meet again," Elises said.
Organizers of the Ironman 70.3 Davao confirmed the death of one of its race participants on Sunday, March 26.
"We are deeply saddened to confirm the death of a race participant at IRONMAN 70.3 Davao. The athlete required medical attention during the swim portion of the race and was transported to a nearby hospital where they were treated," Ironman said in a statement issued on Sunday evening.
The organizer declined to provide further details in respect of the family's request.
The City Government of Davao also offered its condolences to the family. MLSA