Today we’d like to introduce you to Devin Dufauchard.
Devin, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
My professional background in aquatics dates back to over 20 years of experience. My swimming background had early beginnings as a youth competitive swimmer and later as a collegiate swimmer for the Howard University swim team. I have worked at aquatic agencies all over Southern California and the Washington DMV areas.
Swimming was something that was always just fun for me. It was my escape and my peace at the same time. I enjoyed working for different aquatics programs every summer. Everything about it was ideal. Sun, a pool, interactions with people, and a decent tan. I couldn’t ask for anything more and I looked forward to it every summer. But it was nothing that I ever thought would be a real career.
After graduating from college, I wasn’t sure what I was going to do. I started working as a substitute teacher for LAUSD. But I always kept my City of Carson job as a Senior Lifeguard; returning to the pool every June. In 2013 I was released from employment from LAUSD. It was a complete shock. I had been working for them for seven years and one day, I went into an assignment at a high school and was notified on the spot that I had been separated from employment. So what happens next? I stepped my grind up. During the time I had been working for LAUSD, I had started a media company with a friend of mine from college. So I stepped up my involvement in that company. Together we created mobile applications, built websites, social media profiles and other branding profiles for celebrity and noncelebrity clients. We also owned several celebrity gossip blogs, which in its prime had a following of 150-200k. I appreciate this time because I learned a lot about social media marketing, graphic design, video editing and other tech-related advancements. Most of these skills I use today to advance my aquatics business. But while I was doing all this, I was still picking up hours for the City of Carson. Opening pools at 4am. Aquatics was always in the back of my mind as the peace I needed.
As some of you may know, when working with friends, sometimes the work/friend relationship lines get blurred. We had many many successes along with failures. We worked long, late hours trying to reach the dream. But it was during this time that I realized that it wasn’t my dream I was working for. I was working so hard for someone else’s dream and my efforts were not being appreciated. One of the hardest decisions I have ever made as an adult was walking away from that company. I asked for nothing, no monetary compensation for the years I slaved away building a brand for someone else. I woke up one morning a decided I don’t want to be miserable anymore. I want to be happy. So I stepped back as COO and stepped out on faith.
I again took myself right back to the pool; picking up any hours I could for the City of Carson. It was a coworker at Carson that had recently got hired as a Pool Manager for the City of El Monte that told me I should apply for that municipality. I did and was hired as a Senior Lifeguard in late 2017. El Monte is really where I got the big picture about aquatics. I had a supervisor there when I first started, Liza Soto, who really opened my eyes to the opportunities in aquatics. She allowed me to attend aquatics professional conventions and meetings. It was during this time that Swim with Devin was born.
My family had just finished construction of a pool in their backyard when they told me I could teach lessons at their house. My first season, I started out with one client. I had to pick her up from school for her swim lesson and sit with her until her mom got off work. From there, my reputation as an urban aquatics expert grew. I used every social media and branding skill I had gained during my time running the media company. I built my own brand. I was my own social media manager. I created my own content, my own aquatics program, promotional videos, logos, etc. I did SWOT analysis of other aquatic programs and private swim instructor’s business models. Along with all that, I brought my personality to everything produced. A lot of aquatics content is dry and dated. I brought new exciting, fun content to the aquatics community.
Now I am in a position where I can choose what families I want to work with. I only choose those that are committed to the process of becoming water safe and beyond. It means nothing to me to sell one 30 minute swim slot. But to watch a child or adult go from a non swimmer to completely confident in the water is the greatest fulfillment I have ever experienced. Ideally a child that leaves my program will move onto a swim team. Every time slot, I open for a swim lesson I fill with waiting lists building every summer. I also am fortunate to be able to teach swim lessons all year long with the support of my committed families.
It seems that everything I went thru, every job I ever had was preparing me for success in aquatics. Swim with Devin will continue to flourish and thrive because I have committed my whole heart, being and soul to the importance of water safety and this programming.
Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
Nothing about this road has been smooth. But the bumps are what have brought me success. Prior to my family building a pool at their home, I attempted to teach at my own home. We have a pool in our backyard. But our yard was not ready for clients to visit. Now I don’t want to straight-up call my dad Fred Sanford but junk is what he collects. For weeks I cleaned, organized, and tossed junk on top of junk from our yard in preparation for starting my private swim business. Right behind me here comes my father pulling stuff out of the trash, dragging stuff back and all around trying to block me. Every time I stepped into the yard to work he would run behind me and try to start a new project where I was cleaning. It got to the point where we were arguing everyday. The final blow up was over a set of weights that had been sitting in the back yard for ten years unused that he refused to sell. I was heartbroken. I felt like my own father was trying to sabotage my success. So I stopped everything. I was devastated. It was my cousins that I was confiding in who later turned into my saviors. Every time my father and I got into an argument, I would go to them to vent. Six months after I had gave up on my private swim lesson dream is when they told me I would be able to teach at their home. I will forever be grateful for them for this.
Swim with Devin – what should we know? What do you do best? What sets you apart from the competition?
Swim with Devin is a Los Angeles based private swim school. I am an urban aquatics expert specializing in water safety for those ages six months old thru adulthood. What differentiates my program from other aquatics programs is my scheduling flexibility. For most swim programs, if you miss your lesson it is just a lesson lost. I understand that things happen, people get sick, etc. So I allow my clients to change their lesson times with no losses or penalties. My focus is on the outcome of all my clients, not how much I can make from them.
What moment in your career do you look back most fondly on?
While I continue to grow my Swim with Devin school, I still work for the aquatics program for the city of El Monte. Since 2017, I have been promoted twice, now holding a Aquatics Program Coordinator position. My proudest moment in aquatics came in the form of a grant from LA84. I am relentless when it comes to something I really want. For over a year, I actively pursued the LA84 organization. I emailed them every week until they finally invited us to apply for a grant. I submitted the application, even though at the time my job description did not include grant writing. I got the committee to come out for a site visit. My hard work paid off and we were approved for 100 full swim scholarships for the 2019 summer season. The most fulfilling thing I have ever done in my career was reaching out to families that applied to our scholarship program and offering them the free lessons. Some of their stories were so heart wrenching. Doing something that wasn’t required of me and obtaining that objective is the greatest form of service I could ever provide and by far my proudest moment of my career.
- $30 for 30 minutes of instruction
- $50 for 1 hour of instruction
- Buy 5 lessons in advance receive 1 free lesson
- Website: www.swimwithdevin.com
- Phone: 3234286016
- Email: email@example.com
- Instagram: @swimwithdevin
- Facebook: @swimwithdevin
Jordon Kelly @eighty1visuals