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Exploring Life & Business with Sean Kao of Aquatic Sports Performance

Today we’d like to introduce you to Sean Kao.

Hi Sean, thanks for joining us today. We’d love for you to start by introducing yourself.
Aquatic Sports Performance was born out of my parent’s garage where I had built a garage gym in September of 2018. In an effort to build clientele, I started training people for free in the garage starting March 2019. By October 2019, I was coaching enough people to where I began operating out of a facility in Brea. We take the responsibility of training our athletes and clients very seriously as they have trusted us with their athletic careers and health. To honor that responsibility, we look to provide the highest quality training and schedule flexibility. To provide this, we’ve worked seven days a week since October 2019 (excluding the quarantine time period between March 2020 and June 2020). It has taken a lot of hard work but have also been rewarded with slow and steady growth. At the time of this writing, we’ve now coached over 70 in-person clients and over 15 remote training clients including Olympians, Olympic Trials qualifiers, NCAA champions, high school athletes, moms, dads and everyone in between. We’ve grown significantly since March 2019, but our goal remains to continually impact the careers and lives of as many athletes and clients as possible.

I’m sure you wouldn’t say it’s been obstacle free, but so far would you say the journey have been a fairly smooth road?
Not at all. Aquatic Sports Performance started off as a side hustle while working my full-time salary job. Now ASP has become a full-time career in addition to my full-time salary job. So now I have two full-time jobs that require a lot of time, sacrifice, and effort. Thankfully, during the growth of ASP, I’ve received a lot of support from my fiancé, Katie, my parents, a mentor (Andrew Arredondo), our interns Andrew and Courtney Leong, and our clients who have been extremely generous with word-of-mouth referrals. It definitely takes a tribe. COVID also struck right when we were experiencing lots of growth and we had to stop all of our momentum. Fortunately, it brought us athletes and clients we otherwise wouldn’t have had an opportunity to work with and they were also very generous with word-of-mouth referrals. In a way, COVID was a blessing in disguise.

Thanks for sharing that. So, maybe next you can tell us a bit more about your business?
We primarily work with aquatic athletes (swimmers, water polo athletes, rowers) but also work with general population clients. We specialize in individualized training programs, whether it is individualized to a certain individual or a small group to provide the best possible training outcomes. We seek to eliminate training stimuli that doesn’t get our clients closer to their goals and provide training stimuli that get our clients closer to their goals. In an objective sport like swimming, it’s easy to know whether a training program is or isn’t working. Our mission is to be known for producing results and this has been our marketing strategy since we’ve started. Most of our swimmers have produced at least one personal best time within six months of working with us. We’ve even had two highly-accomplished athletes produce best times after not producing one for four years. We also believe there’s a difference in working with high-level athletes and producing high-level athletes. We aim to do both.

The crisis has affected us all in different ways. How has it affected you and any important lessons or epiphanies you can share with us?
Yes, several lessons. First, the importance of building out multiple streams of income to cover for other streams when they completely halt. Second, most in-person meetings take hours away from the day when the same level of accomplishment can be achieved with concise text and email messages. I also learned a couple of lessons from a training standpoint (effects of training hiatus on athletes and how to come back from a training hiatus), but I won’t bore the readers with that.

Contact Info:

Image Credits:

Courtney Leong

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