- o-Jo McQueen overcomes disabilities and praises life-changing influence of her own teachers
At 26, Jo-Jo McQueen – Swim School Manager and Head Swim Teacher at Fusion’s Clements Hall Leisure Centre, in Hawkwell, Essex – has shown that with enough determination and regardless of disability, anything is possible, as she is awarded the prestigious title of ‘Swimming Teacher of the Year’ from Swim England.
Born with physical disabilities and on-going spinal and muscular conditions, Jo-Jo McQueen was often protected or discouraged from doing the everyday sports as a child. Born with her left elbow, lower arm and hand missing, there were many barriers that could have limited her ability to swim, but each step she took, made her more determined to take up her passion.
Jo-Jo, who lives in Southend says her swim teachers and coaches have always been major influences in her life. Their support and encouragement stand as testament to how the skills you learn in the pool can have a positive influence in everyday life – which is why she now teaches swimming today.
Jo-Jo started working as the Swim School Manager and Head Swim Teacher at Fusion’s Clements Hall centre two years ago and says the most rewarding element of teaching swimming is the opportunity to give someone the essential life skill of water safety. She goes on to say “for me teaching goes beyond the pool – children learn discipline, self care, team work, how to cope with disappointment and success in addition to gaining friendship and learning to swim”.
Jo-Jo frequently visits local schools to promote the benefits of learning to swim. She loves to see the grassroots talent that comes through swim schools on a daily basis and for those committed to developing their skills. Jo-Jo wants to be there throughout their journeys, offering encouragement and support.
Jon Glenn, Swim England’s Learn to Swim and Workforce Director’ said: “Jo-Jo is a thoroughly deserving recipient of this award. Her passion is a trademark of her teaching and we praise her for her initiative, confidence and interaction skills. We thank all swimming teachers who are helping to achieve our goal of getting the nation swimming.”
Jon Richardson of Fusion Lifestyle said: – “We are absolutely delighted that Jo-Jo’s hard work and enthusiasm for the sport has paid off and she deserves every accolade she is awarded. She is an inspiration to us all and her commitment to helping children learn both the physical and mental benefits of swimming are second to none”
For more information about learning to swim with Fusion visit www.fusion-lifestyle.com/swimschool