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Exploring Life & Business with Calvin Thomas II of Dolphin U Swim Schools

Today we’d like to introduce you to Calvin Thomas II.

Calvin, we appreciate you taking the time to share your story with us today. Where does your story begin?
I started my swim journey at an early age – my parents enrolled my brother and me in swim lessons at the local YMCA. Luckily for us, my mother worked at this branch so we were able to get lessons at a reduced rate. From swim lessons, I went swimming Team and then became a Lifeguard + Swim Instructor at 16.

Now the story of Dolphin U begins during the midst of the Pandemic. After being laid off like many people back in March 2020, I was unsure of what to do next and how I would continue in this industry I felt super passionate about.

So I took the uncertainty and began shaping a business plan.

Alright, 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?
Smooth is not even close to the words that pop into my mind when I think of the road our start-up is on. Not everything has been difficult for us, but there have been many long nights and early mornings to get where we are.

Starting the business, I had the idea of being of small-business and serving a community. Yet after seeing the impact we had on one community and the families we reached. I knew this concept was bigger than I envisioned and decided to take us to the next level.

A huge obstacle I have faced is one of most Entrepreneurs – funding. Though we have a solid concept, proven model, and paying customers – we have been faced with the stigma of being too new or not having enough personal assets to secure loans.

So we continue the road of bootstrapping and building the business until we find that perfect investor to join our team.

Alright, so let’s switch gears a bit and talk business. What should we know?
We believe that swimming is an important skill that every child should learn. We place our brand in the heart of areas with the passion to change the world!

Our mission is “to conquer the fear of water and promote drowning prevention to every child, every family, and in every neighborhood.” Dolphin University offers warm water swim lessons, with each class emphasizing water safety and social development.

Our target of reaching Black and Brown kids is what makes us unique, we plan to disrupt the learn-to-swim industry by opening locations in untapped markets that are often seen as not valuable areas. Our hope is that this over time will lead to lowering the alarming statistics of drowning in these exact communities.

What’s next?
Our future is bright and we have quite a few action items in our 5-year strategic plan.

But our most important is to see large numbers of children learning the life skill of water safety and reaching public schools to bring this skill into the classroom.

We also aim to build dedicated facilities in each market to serve more families daily.


  • $111 for 4 Children Group Lessons (3 students to 1 teacher)
  • $100 for 4 Infant/Toddler Group Lessons (3 students to 1 teacher)
  • $116 for 4 Adult Group Lessons (3 students to 1 teacher)

Contact Info:

Image Credits
JD Watkins

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