Pacific Swimming
Level 4
Excellence 300

Putting Character First


Orinda Aquatics Outreach Efforts

"This is such an amazing and generous gift. Your support means a lot to me and it is an incredible testament to what you stand for in the larger picture of swimming and developing people." Scott Thompson, Oaklantis


Through its mission of serving the community and the sport, Orinda Aquatics pursues a multidimensional outreach program that seeks to support the following: the swimming efforts in Swaziland Africa, teaching learn-to-swim lessons to children from areas where swimming instruction is not readily accessible, assisting clubs and newer coaches with mentorship and training equipment, offering club visits to present material on culture and character development, supporting the local Special Olympics Swim Team (The Sea Serpents), and finally on providing scholarships to those with need. In summary, they are:

Swazi Swimming, Swaziland, Africa 
For over ten years, Orinda Aquatics has supported the swimming efforts in Swaziland, Africa. The swimming program is a very modest organization that relies on loyal local parent support and very limited funding. Donnie has traveled twice to the country to support coach and program development and Orinda Aquatics has continued to the support the country with donated proceeds from its Character Camp. We also held a swim suit drive that netted over 2,500 swim suits, which included large donations from Nike, Finis, and ASCA, and also raised over 500 pairs of goggles. Very generous support from Meadow Swim Team and Moraga Valley Pool raised $8,000 through Swim-a-Thons, which was used to purchase new equipment for four training sites and an orphanage. On Donnie’s second trip he presented the first ASCA Coach Education seminar in the country, teaching the ASCA Level 1 and Level 2 courses. We are currently in dialogue to sponsor a SwimAmerica (swim school) license to the country for much needed learn-to-swim development. See more detailed letters and information below.

Summary of Swazi Trip - Vision and Reality

USA Swimming - Giving Back

"Orinda had sent us some money for swimming gear/uniform and we purchased the caps/suits/goggles. We are so appreciative for the gear. Thank you from ESA to Orinda for this gift and for your continued support of swimming in Eswatini." ESA Director

Richmond Sailfish

Orinda Aquatics supports the Richmond Sailfish with equipment and donations for scholarships.

​Harbor House Ministries

Harbor House is an organization in Oakland that serves underprivileged families. It is a place for kids go to after school while their parents are at work. At Harbor House the kids get after-school help and food. Harbor House also serves the community with a thrift store and offers emergency food supplies for those in need. Each summer, Orinda Aquatics' year-round members (up to 40) teach over 50 Harbor House summer program kids how to swim at the Soda Aquatic Center. In addition, they interact with team-building, group activities, and lunch.

Dear Orinda Aquatics,

I wanted to express my sincere gratitude for hosting an incredible Learn-to-Swim Day for Harbor House youth!  What a wonderful opportunity you and your coaches provided for our kids!  Getting them out of Oakland for the day, allowing them to swim at a beautiful facility, and providing one-on-one coaches were all tremendous gifts.  We are so grateful.  We know that these special swim days with Orinda Aquatics are creating life-long memories for our kids.  Thank you also for the donation of drinks to our kids.  That was a perfect way to cap off the day. Thank you again to you and everyone at Orinda Aquatics.  And thank you to Cheryl Grubbs for her coordination and planning efforts in linking our two organizations together. Sincerely, Kacie and everyone at Harbor House

Team and Coach Mentorship

Orinda Aquatics offers club and coach mentorship when requested or needed. The team has also provided thousands of dollars in new training equipment to Pacific Swimming’s Diversity and Outreach clubs.

Character Camps & Clinics

Orinda Aquatics Coaches travel to teams around the country to give talks and seminars on developing a character-based culture. Don and Ron do this on a voluntary basis and do not accept speaking fees.  Donated funds would help offset travel costs for teams that cannot cover travel expenses. 

The Special Olympics, The East Bay Sea Serpents 

Orinda Aquatics supports the Sea Serpents with USA Swimming competitive opportunities, team attire and training equipment.

OA Scholarships

Orinda Aquatics provides full and partial scholarships to athletes and families in need of support. 


Please note: All funds donated to Orinda Aquatics Outreach efforts are tax-deductible and will only be used for the purposes described above. No funds will ever be used for operating expenses or administrative costs. We are passionate about the sport of swimming, about helping where we can, and about trying to make a difference in the world.

Feel free to reach out to Cristina Bensadoun, Orinda Aquatics Outreach Director, with any questions at [email protected]