For Ray and Catherine Wong, love began at the pool. Their paths first crossed when they were both on the swim team at Irvine High School in the mid-1990s. Catherine had a crush on Ray and thought he was cute, but they didn’t connect until after graduation.
In 1997, Catherine was taking care of two little girls who were swimming for the Colony Red Hots in Irvine. Every day she sat on the grassy hill while exercising. One day she realized that the coach was Ray Wong, the cute boy from high school. They chatted, became good friends, and started writing letters while Catherine was in college in Indiana.
On their first date in the summer of 1988, they ate at Milan’s Italian restaurant on Heritage Plaza, played mini golf at Boomers, and then saw the movie Armageddon at The Spectrum.
“I don’t know how we put it all together,” says Catherine.
They had a lot more data and collected moments from everyone including pictures, tickets, and movie stubs. After spending the day at Disneyland for Catherine’s birthday, Ray surprised her with a collage of date souvenirs. In the center was a picture of an engagement ring. Before she could ask about the meaning of the picture, Ray was on one knee.
Ray and Catherine still live in Irvine and enjoyed raising a family of their own. Many of their old places are still their favorite places to spend time together. In 2015, Ray again coached the Colony Red Hots swim team, but this time he coached his own daughter. Today Ray is the head coach of the Irvine High School swim team, the team he and Catherine first met. The couple, who once took romantic walks around Woodbridge Lake, still enjoy the same walk with their two children.
“It’s all about balance,” says Catherine. “You are a team. It’s important to work together. “
Irvine was the setting for the true love story of Ray and Catherine Wong.