To Top

Meet Don Tran of Deep End Fitness and the Underwater Torpedo League

Today we’d like to introduce you to Don Tran.

Don, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
Deep End Fitness (DEF) and the Underwater Torpedo League’s (UTL) training methodology was started when my co-founder, Prime Hall and I were working as Marine Corps Water Survival Instructors at Camp Pendleton together in 2010 while training to be a Marine Raider at the Marine Special Operations Command. We had the honor of training thousands of Marines and Sailors in water confidence and certifying them in the Marine Corps’ swim qualifications. During the time, we identified that gaining confidence in the water directly increases confidence in many other aspects of people’s lives as well.

After Prime and I got out of the military, we wanted to pursue something we were extremely passionate about that brought value to people’s lives. At the end of 2017, we launched DEF & UTL. We brought the training principles we learned during our time in the military, combined with proven techniques we developed, to train athletes of all levels from non-swimmers to professional athletes such as Olympic Swimmers to MMA fighters. We have been running with this crazy but fulfilling business ever since but not without help. We have been so fortunate to have a great support system from our family, friends, and community of athletes that have made our journey possible, from our good friend and Marine Raider Ricky Briere to the great mentors (Dave Alberga, Derek Herrera, Coach Dave Marsh, Alex Isaly, Sang Huynh, & the USC and Chapman University Faculty) that have guided us along the way.

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
Wow, there have been too many struggles along the way to count. My business partner, always says that the obstacle is the way. It gives us the opportunity to learn from mistakes and be smarter about our decisions in the future. Some of the biggest struggles that we have faced have been with finding the right people for the right job, scaling our business (remembering that quality is better than quantity), not pushing as hard as we should in marketing, and my number one is always time management. There is always so much to do but it’s important to focus on that one thing that makes your company more efficient, even though that means learning how to say no sometimes.

The Marine Raiders have always taught us to be adaptable so I feel that no matter what is thrown our way, we’ll be able to navigate the situation to the best of our ability.

We’d love to hear more about your business.
The Underwater Torpedo League was created as an aquatic training tool to build water confidence, shifting the focus of being uncomfort underwater, to better-controlling stress and anxiety levels to accomplish a specific task or goal in and around the water. Deep End Fitness is the training arm that utilizes these principles to train all different types and levels of athletes to gain these benefits without actually playing the sport. We incorporate functional fitness with aquatics training.

Our mission is to create a global positive shift in water confidence through elite athletic training, events, and aquatic team sport.

The biggest benefit from our training is the mental strength built from managing stress levels. Everyone has a certain amount of anxiety when they go underwater and has the urge to come up for a breath of air, but understanding their limitations and controlling that stress and anxiety build strength that directly translates to other parts of their lives. We live by our principle of being F.R.E.E which stands for; Focus, Relaxation, Economy of Motion, and Efficient Breathing.

We currently have pool locations from San Diego to Los Angeles, CA and are expanding to key cities throughout the nation to include Honolulu, the Bay Area, Las Vegas, Dallas, New York City, and Miami. We provide a trustful, safe environment for athletes to come and build their water confidence techniques and principles.

What were you like growing up?
Growing up in Long Beach, I was always getting in trouble in high school. I always had the drive to do something bigger than myself but I had nowhere to focus the energy. After getting arrested during my senior year of high school, I knew I needed to get away from my environment and college wasn’t for me so I decided to join the Marine Corps, which was probably one of the best decisions I made in my life. The military taught me accountability for my own actions, adaptability in any environment, leadership to inspire others, and humility.

Contact Info:

  • Website: &
  • Email:
  • Instagram: underwater_torpedo_league & deependfitness
  • Facebook: The Underwater Torpedo League & Deep End Fitness
  • Twitter: utl_nation

Image Credit:

Images by: Colton Tisch

Suggest a story: VoyageLA is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you or someone you know deserves recognition please let us know here.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

More in