Atwater at home in the water


Mr. Kip Atwater is an Anatomy teacher as well as a water polo and swim coach at Channel Islands High School. As an aquatics coach and a teacher, Mr. Atwater faces struggles and challenges, yet that never stopped him from doing what he loves most: coaching, having fun, being spontaneous, and teaching.  

Mr. Atwater attended Foothill Technology High School when it was a brand new high school. Since it was a brand new high school, Atwater stated that there weren’t any sports, so he decided to swim and play polo for Ventura High School. He completely fell in love with polo. He was varsity captain his senior year for both swim and polo.

After high school, he went to Ventura College. When he transferred to Cal Poly San Luis Obispo,  he wanted to get himself back into shape so he played  1 year of club water polo at Cal Poly. 

Atwater never thought of becoming a teacher. People told him he would make a good teacher but he never thought so, until he gave it a try.

“The first three years of teaching and coaching were really hard, especially because with coaching there were certain struggles, but I did have help. Ms. Jones really helped me a lot and is still helping me,” said Atwater. 

Atwater faced many challenges in his first years as a coach. 

“We didn’t have a pool, so it was a struggle to get transportation and build a team that could cooperate with us. It was stressful and challenging,” he said. “Ms. Salcido and Ms. Jones were a huge help to me, especially with coaching, and teaching biology, and anatomy. I’m thankful for them because they made my job less stressful.” 


Now  Atwater is thinking of starting a water polo club in the summer for students and adults. He and Coach Ripley at Hueneme High School are starting the water polo club for anyone who wants to join and for his returning water polo students. He wants to start this and make it into a program for anyone at least 8 years old who wants to train and play water polo and swim.

In addition to starting his water polo club with coach Ripley, Mr. Atwater is also a surf teacher. Atwater began to teach surfing from the age of 14 up to the age of 16. But he was involved in “Surf Therapy,” where they teach kids from all over the country who struggle with anxiety, depression, eating disorders, or addiction. They take them surfing with their therapists. 

In his free time, Atwater also stated that he likes to train for long-distance paddle races, but he likes to be present for his students and help them in any way possible. Once a week he also hosts an adult water polo league for CI  alumni; he said he loves to listen to what his fellow students and friends are up to. 

“I have found that teaching is very emotionally and physically draining, but also rewarding and enjoyable,” said Atwater. “I hope my students, and everyone really, takes the time to think about the pressure that they hold themselves to. The pressure to excel, succeed, to be perfect can be so damaging and stressful. With that, I would say that I hope we can all be a little nicer to ourselves because when we do that, we are often nicer to those around us as well. 

“Remember that you are not alone and reach out to someone when you need help,” he added, “or just to chat about how you feel instead of keeping it bottled up.” 

Ms. Jones described Atwater as a very bright and amazing teacher. He is always so caring, kind, and encouraging. Atwater has a big influence on his students; he truly cares and loves his job. Lorena Lopez is one of Atwater’s athletes for water polo and swimming, she has stated “Atwater is an amazing coach he keeps me going and he’s very funny, he’s one of my favorite teachers”  “I cannot see myself doing anything other than what I am doing now” said Atwater “i want everyone to know that you are loved and you are special.”