Jo Shackleton, November 2017

This ‘reference’ is for Mario, whose skill, patience and positivity has changed me from a lifelong non-swimmer to somebody whose swimming is now commented on by others in the pool. I can now swim a really good breaststroke and am learning front crawl. I would never have thought this possible.

I have had a fear of water since childhood when I was forced to jump into a swimming pool. I have tried to learn to swim on numerous occasions since then. The closest I got was when I attended a week’s residential course twenty years ago: I learnt to float and swim whilst holding my breath, but I never mastered the breathing. Then I taught myself to swim with my head above water and gradually lost confidence again.

At 58 years old, I decided to have one last try, and it was my great fortune to discover MXT and Mario. I have been having weekly lessons with Mario for almost two years now. I swim 2-3 times a week and love it: it is my main form of exercise. This is all thanks to Mario, who has believed in me from the start, encouraged and challenged me. I would never have believed it possible to swim as I do now and this is all down to Mario and his skill as a teacher. I can’t thank him enough!