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Meet Kenneth Rippetoe of One with the Water

Today we’d like to introduce you to Kenneth Rippetoe.

So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
When I was a kid, my parents forced me to swim and take lessons, just like the ones I teach today. I despised going to lessons and I despised even more having to be a part of the swim team. It wasn’t until my senior year of high school that I was being recruited for collegiate swimming that I actually started to think about doing this full time. I had been a lifeguard since the age of 16 and taught others to become lifeguards even at that age.

Once I started teaching kids with Autism and other flawless neurological imperfections, I realized this was exactly what I wanted to do. I felt like I was able to connect with these children on a spiritual level. On August 30th, 2011, I had a dream about the name, the logo, the colors, the dolphins being part of the wave, and so I started the swimming school. With my background in finance and business, I knew I could provide swim coaches like myself the opportunity to teach full-time.

Within the first month, I had another instructor and we were both busy expanding the company.

One with the Water is not just about being a swim school. We are about sharing with others our passion for being in the water and living. The peacefulness we gain from swimming is something that has become greater than a life-or-death matter to us. Swimming is our passion. It is our escape from this world and its over-stimulation. Teaching people about our passion and helping them to achieve this peacefulness is our mission. We connect with people, especially the kids with special needs. We build our clients’ confidence and teach them how to relax and become “One with the Water.”

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?
The biggest struggles are navigating the politics of the municipalities to get pool space. Although the public has access to the pools, many kids are sometimes not able to afford lessons provided by the cities. And getting the space to teach the kids to use the pools can sometimes be a long and expensive process.

So, as you know, we’re impressed with One with the Water – tell our readers more, for example what you’re most proud of as a company and what sets you apart from others.
On the surface, we teach people to swim. But what we actually do is so much more. We have an expert coaching staff (I am a certified level 3 disability coach), excellent pool facilities and committed community partners. We help adults, children, adaptive athletes and low-income students achieve their dreams in three steps.

First, we carefully assess our students’ needs, then we deliver and execute a personalized swimming plan, and finally we celebrate their success! Our swimmers understand that they can do anything that they put their mind to – they can become “One with the Water.” We believe in empowering our athletes with confidence and accomplishment. And, we have our beginners swimming successfully in just 8 lessons!

Besides having a traditional client base, as a non-profit, we accept grants and donations from community organizations, local businesses, and private donors. We believe everyone should have access to the life-saving skill of swimming, especially the most vulnerable members of our community. We offer need-based scholarships to persons with mental or physical challenges, including Service-Disabled Veterans, as well as to families struggling financially. We will not turn down anyone who wants to learn to swim!

One of the things we are most proud of (behind our dedicated, professional staff) is our whole mind-body approach and our use of the growth mindset in encouraging and coaching our swimmers. Additionally, we love to see our swimmers meet and then shatter our expectations, whether it’s just seeing a child overcome their fear of the water or seeing our athletes compete in international competitions.

So, what’s next? Any big plans?
We’d love to see One with the Water expand to more cities, using our specialized coaching philosophy and specific training methods. There are licensing and training opportunities available for coaches. But we mean what we say – our ultimate goal is to make sure everyone in our community has access to the lifesaving skill of swimming. That means we need to continue to grow our partnerships with the local community in order to have the financial resources to offer lessons to the most vulnerable populations in our area. If you are interested in being a hero for at risk children, consider donating to our foundation.


  • $60 provides one child 8 group lessons to learn the lifesaving skill of swimming and reduce their risk of drowning by up to 88%.
  • $185/monthly provides one adaptive athlete with a swim team membership, long term coaching, and competitive opportunities.
  • $275/monthly provides life-saving swim lessons and individualized swim plan to one child with special needs.
  • $5000 provides TEN adaptive athletes with 3 months of coaching, tuition, pool space, and insurance.

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
GoShiggyGo Photography
Rich Schmidt Photography

Getting in touch: VoyageLA is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.

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