top of page

Scroll down to view our customer reviews here and on our Google Business Review Page

Google Busienss Profile

"Just a note to say thanks to Mark for the swim lesson that he gave me last Tuesday. I'd never had a lesson as an adult before; in fact I hadn't thought seriously about improving my swimming technique. Therefore I wasn't sure what to expect. I really enjoyed the lesson and found it very helpful. Mark was great - encouraging and with good insight. I feel that my technique has improved even after the 45 minute lesson. Very many thanks!"


Jack - Bristol

"Mark is a fantastic swimming teacher.  He is patient, warm and funny and took me from not being able to swim a stroke to swimming 800 metres in my final lesson. It was worth every penny. What a superstar."


Kelly - Bristol

"Wanted to improve my front crawl technique and breathing, Mark has helped me so much in only a few sessions.  Though taking time and building up one step at a time I feel like my swimming has improved far more than I expected.  Wouldn't hesitate to recommend Mark to anyone struggling with any aspect of their swimming"


Alex Wright

"With a looming middle distance triathlon and rather useless front crawl technique I arranged a one off swimming lesson with Mark to see what all the talk was about. Many gym buddies had mentioned he was brilliant, so I booked a session and then 6 more! One-on-one teaching with video analysis and ongoing support turned my technique into something energy efficient and useful. Mark demonstrates and communicates very clearly, is very supportive and friendly. A great coach/instructor who clearly has a wealth of experience behind him! I'd recommend him to everyone, Thanks! Liv."


Liv - Bristol

"I'd not had any swimming lessons since school and my stroke could, at best, have been described as 'splashy', so when I signed up for an open water triathlon I thought I'd better get some coaching. I heard of Mark through a recommendation from a friend and I'm so glad I booked myself a few lessons. He's amazingly good at explaining what he means and is very patient and non-intimidating. In a couple of lessons he managed to take me from someone nervous of doing crawl even in a pool, to being able to deal with an open water mass start. I'd thoroughly recommend him to anyone.


I never learned to swim as a child and took adult swimming lessons several times over the years but I never felt that I really knew how to swim and never developed confidence in the water. I still had difficulty breathing and felt nervous in the water, especially when I had to put my face in the water."



Chrissy Hammond - Bristol

"Mark was recommended to me because I wanted to focus on front crawl as part of trying out a sprint triathlon for the first time. I'm confident with breast stroke but front crawl seemed completely alien to me. Mark has a ridiculously relaxed and reassuring coaching style which makes you feel good about how you're progressing and more importantly, helps you overcome your fears. I've completed 4 sprint triathlons this year and not only cracked my front crawl style but improved my swim times.  I can't recommend Mark highly enough. For anyone looking to conquer their fears, Mark is the coach for you!"


Claire Moyne - Bristol

"My swimming was pretty terrible before taking lessons with Mark. After just a couple of months he improved my swimming to such an extent that I've been able to compete in open water races over several kilometres and swimming in Ironman races now doesn't phase me.  In other sports you can make significant gains through lots of training and expensive kit, but swimming is mostly technique. Taking lessons is probably the best investment I've ever made. Mark is a really nice, friendly chap and I can't recommend him highly enough."


Hugh Adlam - Bristol

"Create Fitness have made a huge difference to my swimming. The booking system is organised and user-friendly, and Mark works hard to ensure that there are plenty of opportunities to fit training around a busy schedule. My lessons have been interesting, varied, well structured and helped me to achieve my goals in a remarkably short time. I find Mark's use of video analysis really helpful, and the guidance and support for what to do in between lessons has been invaluable. I have already recommended Mark to a number of friends and colleagues and will continue to do so without hesitation. Mark's coaching support is priceless - and therefore also excellent value for money.


Victoria Sloan - Bristol

"I am in my 50s and rehabbing from a serious knee injury. Deciding that this might be an ideal time to learn to swim properly I contacted Mark at Create Fitness. I had never previously had a swimming lesson and could only do a few lengths of something approximating breaststroke. After only a few weeks I have breaststroke technique nailed (well - you know what I mean!) and am now learning the front crawl. I have had many trainers, coaches and teachers for many things over the years and I can honestly say that Mark is one of the very best. He is the absolute master of positive encouragement. His enthusiasm for swimming and training others to swim is obvious. He makes great use of technology by videoing sessions, providing material on the web and using an excellent online booking system that makes it easy to fit lessons around a varied and busy schedule. I can't recommend Mark highly enough - he is just awesomely good at what he does.


Pat MacDonald - Bristol

"Over the last thirty years I have had made three serious attempts to learn to swim but with little result. In an astonishingly short time Mark has given me a new level of confidence in the water. His reassurance that my problems were in no way unusual, backed up by his brilliantly simple e-book mean that I now class myself as a swimmer, no longer a non-swimmer. Simply put - life changing!"


Sim Evan-Jones - Bristol

"I came to Mark hoping to improve my backstroke speed and couldn’t have been happier with the progress made in the space of one session. Mark taught technique adjustments in a very clear way and at no point did I feel overwhelmed by the new information he was teaching. This was my first private 1to1 swimming lesson and the improvements were significant. Would highly recommend to swimmers of all abilities."

Dominic Pearcy - Bristol

"I have always envied those who can swim front crawl and I regret no learning to do so when I was a child. With Mark's help I can now do this. His attention to detail and stepwise approach to learning the technique and giving you the confidence to achieve this are just excellent. The Nuffield Health club is also an excellent venue with a lovely uncrowded pool in which to learn."


Mark Cobby - Bristol

"When I started training with Mark I could at best swim 2 lengths of a 20m pool. Now after a few months I’ve just completed my first open water triathlon and I’m still grinning! I can honestly say I couldn’t have done this without Mark’s help. Not only has he massively improved my front crawl, he gave me the confidence to complete the tri. As other people here have said, he’s incredibly knowledgable and encouraging, I would recommend CreateFit to anyone.”


Dan Rowlands - Bristol

"Mark is an excellent teacher. He has helped me to improve my technique with breast stroke, front crawl and backstroke. By initially watching me, and then filming me so I could see what I was actually doing, he clearly explained where I could refine my movements. I now really feel I cruise through the water much more efficiently and fluently. He is currently teaching me butterfly which has been incredibly challenging for me, but with his positive words, persistence and patience, I really feel I am getting there. Thank you so much!"


Louise England - Bristol

"At the age of 40 I decided to do my first ever triathlon and signed up for the Bolton UK Ironman. I had less than a year to train for it and I could only swim breaststroke with my head out of the water. I was also petrified of deep water!! I could not have got through the IM without Mark. He trained me so well that I took the plunge on IM day with 2000 fellow swimmers. I relied on all the skills he had given me through training and I completed the 2.4mile open water swim....with front crawl of course! Mark is the best coach I have ever worked with."


Catherine Wedding - Bath

"I have had indoor pool and open water swimming lessons with Mark and he has been brilliant with both.  I was a plodding breast stroke swimmer with neither stamina nor breathing technique to manage more than a length of crawl and I had never swum in open water. Over several sessions Mark gave me the building blocks and confidence to work at this and I am delighted with the results. Mark is a great teacher - patient, courteous, positive and very encouraging.  I will use Mark for any future swimming lessons and recommend him without reservation to anyone thinking of taking the plunge."


Jane Watson - Bristol

"Mark's SwimFit classes are great for building swim fitness and speed. I knocked 90 secs of my 400m in just 8 weeks."


Edgar Thoemmes - Bristol

"I am sure many coaches are well read, have the necessary certificates and can indeed teach you what they've learnt. The difference with Mark is that with his wealth of experience, he is the person that writes the books and makes the videos that others learn from!


For myself as a rookie triathlete, his ability to recognise what an individual requires in each discipline based on age, physiology, confidence, enthusiasm and competence is where he adds more value than others. No matter what level of athlete and whatever the personal goal, i would bet my house on the fact that you cannot fail to learn something / improve directly as a result of a session(s) with Mark.


In a year he has taken me from being pulled out of my first sprint triathlon swim by a lifeboat to a top 10% finisher in my first 70.3 completed in 5hrs. Despite training for 20 years i have learnt the hard way that knowledge, technique and efficiency will always win over brute force in endurance sports and Mark's bespoke training plan is helping me achieve my goal of a sub 12hr Ironman at my first attempt. For 15 years i thought i was a good runner, it took Mark 30 minutes to get me running 15% faster using 10% less effort.


For as long as i can train and compete i know there is more to learn, and for as long as Mark is prepared to coach me, i am happy to pay for his sessions, refresher courses , videos, advice and training plans.


As with all things in life, you get what you pay for and i couldn't recommend him any more. If i have any advice, buy the five sessions and get one for free because as long as you see the level of improvement you will want to go back for more."


Marcus Rendle - Bristol

"I came across Mark Durnford when I was looking for adult swimming lessons in Bristol, having recently relocated here.


I'm training for triathlon, and whilst I could swim quite far, my technique was non-existent (I didn't even put my face in the water!)


I chose to start with breast stroke and then progress to front crawl, to give me some options of variety in my training.


Mark’s teaching approach is amazing. His direction is completely clear, and he has endless patience. He also praises frequently which really keeps you motivated during the tricky bits.


Each session focused on a particular part of the stroke, which I would then take away and practice between sessions.


3 months later I have near perfect technique (if I do say so myself!), and now we're focussing on speed and endurance.


The cherry on the top was when I went on holiday with my family this summer. I found I was eager to get in the pool with the kids, splash around, jumping in. I would never have done this before, and of course the kids loved it.


Next challenge for triathlon is the road bike, and since Mark doesn't only specialise in swimming that's our next project.


I would 100% recommend Mark Durnford for adult swimming lessons in Bristol. He makes you feel really at ease, but more importantly he really ensures you reach your goal."


Louise Jeffreys - Bristol

"I started taking swimming lessons with Mark this year, I can say its been going on very well since I can proudly say now I can swim! When I started taking my swimming lessons with Mark I was a total beginner, I couldn’t swim and my fear of been in water just made everything terrible. With hard work I finally did it and enjoy swimming too. I commend him for being an excellent coach with outstanding knowledge on swimming, with him it's not just about learning to swim its also about getting the techniques right which I believe is important.  I have made so much progress in spite of my fears because of his encouragement and patience. Thank you ..!!"


Caroline Njoroge - Bristol

"Amazing coach, I would highly recommend to anyone of any swimming ability.

I have now used Mark and his great coaching for a while now as I need to perform timed swim examinations annually as part of my job.  I therefore have come back to Mark again this year as it is always a noticeable difference in my swimming ability.

His knowledge is incredible and his teaching style really works for me, super positive and motivational while breaking down many small aspects of each part of the stroke and what he is teaching you, so you thoroughly understand why.

Couldn't recommend highly enough!"


Dylan - Bristol

"After trying to improve my swimming without a coach with what I thought was some success, I thought I would give Create Fitness a try. In 3 months my freestyle stroke has totally changed and the time and distances I feel comfortable swimming and have significantly lengthened my distance per stroke. Unlike running or cycling which most people 'just do' I would highly recommend swimming lessons with Create to really get the technical efficiency that swimming is all about. In terms of improved times/distances in comparison to money spent, its probably the biggest return on investment than any other piece of kit."


Alastair Pride - Bristol

"Hi Mark,


Just to say another big thank you for helping me with my front crawl technique. I went swimming yesterday morning and swam 1,500m and I could feel that it was a lot more efficient. I used my watch and I was 10 seconds faster every 100m which after constantly being the same average, it was interesting and brilliant to see that difference. 


I feel really happy with where my swimming has got to and loving it at the moment which is the main point of it all. 


I hugely appreciate your advice and guidance and you've helped me feel so much more confident than I did. 


Many thanks :) "


Claire Moyne - Bristol

"I booked 6 lessons with Mark to work on my freestyle technique 6 months before I was due to swim a Channel relay. I was putting in plenty of training, but my stroke lacked timing and power. Apart from Mark's expert advice and solid, practical drills, what really helped was to see myself swimming on video during each session: it's one thing to be told that you're dropping an elbow or crossing over at the front of your stroke, but another to actually see it, change what you're doing and then see the results - and to get all the footage by email to review later. The pool in Clifton was ideal for teaching and I really began looking forward to each session. I'd definitely recommend Mark, whatever your swimming objective."


William Goodland - Bristol

"What an excellent time! I had an individual lesson with Mark that helped addres my meandering in the sea. Its amazing how small changes have a significant effect on my swimming.


Now in the pool for 7am every Thursday for group lesson, WOW! I can feel my swim fitness improving and my sea and pool performance with it. Mark is a great motivator, good balance of task master, praise and encouragement. Thank you!"


Anoo Jain - Bristol

"Thanks for the videos coach,


Swam 1500m today… No break…. No over thinking!! Best swim i've had….


Really appreciate your time and patience. Jake and I can't fault your approach and very thankful for all your help. 


We will book in with you soon.


 Best. O."

Olly - Bristol

"Hi Mark,


I just wanted to say thank you so much for the teaching. I honestly didnt think it was possible for me to do crawl, let alone enjoy it. And now I do!


Let me know if you ever relocate to Manchester so I can have lessons with you again.


Thanks again and I appreciate everything youve taught me."


Luke - Bristol

"At the grand old age of 60 and with a super long haul winter holiday booked I decided that it really was time to overcome my fear of water and learn to relax in the pool.


I booked some beginners swimming lessons with the instructor who immediately struck me with his positivity and calm, but firmly encouraging manner. I had a couple of early sessions where I could have given up but the instructor was supportive and made me realise that I was making progress - ''concentrate on what you can do, not on what you can't do'' was a very useful phrase for me. At the end of my course of lessons I was able to swim breaststroke in a competent manner and moreover had overcome most of my fears about being in the water.


My holiday took on a whole new dimension due to my enjoyment of being in the water. I would have no hesitation in recommending this instructor to anyone such as myself who has a long ingrained fear of water. Thank you for all your help. it was great and has made such a difference to me."


Yvonne Perry - Bristol

"Mark's a great coach with a very methodical step by step approach to his teaching.


Having swimming technique explained in this way was a revelation and at the tender age of 59 Mark taught me how to do the front crawl properly. Can't recommend Mark highly enough."


Nick Seary - Bristol

"Couldn't recommend Mark enough.


I started the year not being able to swim more than one length and next week I am taking part in the London Tri! His one on one coaching has improved my technique and boosted my confidence massively!


His style of coaching is easy to understand and instantly puts you at ease, especially if you are feeling a bit anxious about the water! As well as coaching sessions, Mark gives you advice and tips on what to do in your independent training which was really helpful too!"


Lauren Andrews - Bristol

"I am 65 and can run for miles without gasping for breath, but I couldn't swim one 25m width of my local pool without stopping, exhausted and panting....but 6 months after the first of my 6-for-5 CreateFit swimming lessons with Mark Durnford (plus practising on my own a couple of times a week in between lessons), I had acquired, to my amazement, enough technique to enter a novice aquathlon swimrun (400m swim/2.5k run).


The way of mentoring here leaves room for you to feel you are proactively participating in your own learning, which enhances the sense of the achievement as each goal is reached. It has been exhilarating to acquire this new skill, especially to be able to breathe as easily when swimming as when running. I would without hesitation recommend the tuition on offer here to anyone."


Jim Sheeran - Bristol

"I have always been a very poor swimmer and after turning 50 earlier this year, decided to do something about it.


Mark's coaching has transformed my confidence and technique to the point that I now enjoy being in the water and swim regularly. He is knowledgeable, encouraging - and very patient! Highly recommended!"


Alex Parsons - Bristol

"Sorted out my stroke in super-fast time, gave very clear instructions and kept focusing on the most important flaws one at a time rather than confusing me trying to fix everything at once.


Very motivating too, especially seeing the improvements on video. Very enjoyable and highly recommended!"


Alistair - Bristol

"I'd always been a two-length freestyle flake; had to stop gasping for air & envying those who could effortlessly cruise.


I never learned to swim properly as a kid and made it up as I went along. Don't know why I put off having lessons for so long. When I eventually decided to go for it, I had one of the best learning experiences I can remember. Calm, patient and supportive.


I couldn't believe how much better I felt in the water after only the first hour. I've never enjoyed swimming more and now feel like one of those effortless swimmers I always admired; although still learning! If you've never been taught proper strokes or you just want to brush up your technique, I'd highly recommend CreateFit. Don't put it off for as long as I did. There's a whole world of water out there!"


John Henderson - Bristol

"As an adult I can swim but not well so decided to have some lessons.


CreateFit has been excellent, my instructor has been patient professional fun and above all explains in a way that makes sense and has given me great results.


I can now swim properly head down and have gained a lot of confidence. I would highly recommend creatfit to anyone wanting to improve their skills and who wants to learn in a fun and professional environment. I have thoroughly enjoyed my lessons and will be back for more!"


Joanna Morgan - Bristol

"I came to CreateFit able to swim just about 2 lengths in schoolboy-front-crawl, and needed to re-engineer my technique completely to compete in a triathlon in may 2017.

The instructor understood the challenge and within the first session had changed enough of my technique that I could see improvement.

Another 6 sessions and a lot of practise in between and I just finished a sprint triathlon in under 1hr 30.
Although you know your technique is lacking, it takes a skilled instructor to spot your weaknesses, describe them in a manner that can be easily understood, and then devise a drill that can improve your swimming. Create fit did that for me!"


Mark Jenkin - Bristol

"He was approachable, knowledgable and a very good instructor. I asked a lot to learn how to swim from zero to hero in only a few sessions, but he did a great job and made it very easy for me to pick up the techniques easily. I've been with several instructors before but non of which have had the success that me and he did in only a hand full of sessions.

Well worth the money and time. I've only stopped going due to the fact I have now moved out of Bristol. I reccomend any beginner swimmers to go with him. He puts you at ease and creates a good learning atmosphere.

Above all else he is a genuinely nice bloke."


Abe, Bristol

"I have no hesitation in recommending Mark. I've had lessons before whilst working in London which mostly left me feeling a bit demoralised as I couldn't put it all together as required or do all the drills well enough. I was permanently stuck near the back of the 3rd (of 3!) - the improvers lane.


What Mark did differently for me was start with what was decent about my stroke building confidence and then picked out two of the flaws he thought were holding me back the most that I could work on and remember easily in my own time. This on top of his friendly and attentive style makes him a great personal coach."

David Lester, Bristol

"I've been swimming since I was 4 yrs old - and getting it wrong! Just little things, but these things were making a huge impact on my stamina, breathing and physical ability - not to mention my lack of motivation to use swimming as a form of exercise. The lessons with him were fantastic. He taught me the 'right' way which in turn has given me the confidence and ability to use swimming as a main form of exercise - which in turn has also helped with shoulder and back issues. I'd really recommend him as an instructor."  


Ines Rhienberger - Bristol

"I had one private lesson to give me some help with improving my crawl technique. I was given some excellent one on one tuition which has made all the difference. I would highly recommend these lessons. Many thanks." 


Biss McGwire - Bristol

"I signed myself and my brother up for swimming lessons with Mark, as we had been talking about improving our swimming for years as we were very weak swimmers.  We'd set ourselves a challenge of completing a mile open water swim nine months down the line, and I was terrified by the prospect.  I had no confidence in the water at all, and didn't even want to put my face in the water on our initial lesson.  Mark was so easy going, and immediately made the both of us feel relaxed and at ease (we had joint lessons which really helped motivate us both.)

We focussed on front crawl, and Mark broke the stroke technique down into drills, slowly, each week adding in new elements.

I had a huge crisis of confidence a few lessons in, but Mark was so patient and really took the time to make me feel happy and relaxed in the water.  

I'm amazed at the difference in my swimming now - I also genuinely enjoy being in the water, whereas this time last year I was terrified. 

I can't recommend Mark highly enough."

Kate Adam - Bristol

"Great experience with Mark who really helped me improve my front crawl technique. He is really focused on helping you achieve your goals. I'm looking forward to continuing my sessions!"

Zoe Crick - Bristol

"The instructor has helped my swimming enormously, he's easy to get on with and always maintains a very encouraging and positive disposition. Would have no hesitation in recommending him."

Gareth Bundock - Bristol

"It took me 4 months to cash in the swimming lesson vouchers I was given as a present because I was so ashamed of my appalling floundering in the water and the fact that in my late 60's I had never had a swimming lesson. The instructor was amazing he never once made me feel a fool and gave me so much encouragement that I had some confidence in the water and began to love the lessons. 

He carefully unpicked my mistaken attempts at breast stroke and with good explanations as to why and how put the correct arms, legs, glide and breathing movements into place. I am so very grateful to him and enjoy the water so much more now. I would highly recommend him as a teacher to any elderly beginner or to anyone low on confidence.

The website for booking and what to do was easy to use and all very well explained."

Sue Norman - Bristol

Hey Mark

Just wanted to drop a line to confirm I survived the waters during my holiday thanks to Francesca’s amazing instructor skills!  Can’t say how thankful I am and the lessons were definitely value for money given the size of hurdle I’ve now overcome.

Many thanks!

Martin Onchere - Bristol

"I turned 50 this year and decided it was about time I learned how to swim. When I first met the instructor I could barely manage a length but through his tuition (and patience!), my confidence and technique improved immeasurably - I now enjoy being in the water and swim regularly.


He is an excellent coach. He has a warm, friendly manner and knows how to get the best out of people. I left every session motivated to practice and improve - thank you."


"I've never been able to swim front crawl for more than a length so finally at age 55 took the plunge and booked a lesson with him.


It was definitely worth it and I made huge progress within the one lesson. I'm really grateful for his input and just wish I'd done it years ago. Thank you!"

Martine Duggan - Bristol

"I'd always done a bit of swimming to keep fit but never knew what I was really meant to be doing so I booked a lesson with Mark to get some advice.


It is fair to say that Mark has transformed my swimming technique. Due to Mark's help and encouragement I have gone from a bit of pool swimming to entering a 10K open water event - something I had always wanted to do but thought was impossible. As well as advice during the lessons Mark has provided me with a training plan and support to enable me to achieve my swimming goals. Mark is an excellent teacher and I would highly recommend him to anyone."

Rachel Brodie - Bristol

"At the age of 62 I was diagnosed with a degenerative and activity-limiting bone disease for which there is no cure and little medical help available. As a consequence keeping active and managing chronic pain became a big feature of my life. I loved swimming but had given it up. Two years after diagnosis I started swim training with Mark at CreateFit as part of my back management programme and have been pleased, surprised and excited by the results.  Mark helped me adapt my swimming to take into account my particular back problem, patiently retaught me how to do front crawl and breaststroke and after two years am now able to do interval swim training to boost cardio-vascular fitness.


My CreateFit swim journey has not just been about swimming as Mark has a clear understanding of the complex and inter-related nature of the issues involved when dealing with musculo-skeletal problems and chronic pain.  He has successfully brought that understanding to helping me return to swimming.  I would completely recommend Mark and CreateFit for any other old codgers like myself with a dodgy back and diminishing fitness but who are not quite ready to give up."


Bette Baldwin - Bristol

"This time last year (summer 2016) I was a poor swimmer. I didn't have any confidence in the water, I couldn't swim very far without taking in large gulps of water or getting out of breath, and, not surprisingly, I didn't enjoy swimming. This summer things are very different. I'm confident in the water, swimming several hundred meters a few times a week, enjoying taking on my kids in fun races in the holiday pool, and about to do my first triathlon.


So how did things all change? 


My wife bought me half a dozen swimming lessons with Mark for Christmas. This was a fantastic present. I was very nervous about my first lesson, and I was convinced that it wouldn't make jot of difference as I'd always been a weak swimmer. How wrong I was. 


Mark is a superb teacher. Calm, patient, clear, logical and always encouraging. In a simple but non patronizing way, he analyzed, broke down and rebuilt my front crawl stroke to something now unrecognizable from what it was and certainly more efficient, relaxing and rewarding for me. The difference was immediate, and I had a clear idea what I had to do and even where I might be able to get to with swimming during the first lesson.


I can't thank Mark enough, and I can't recommend him to others highly enough. Take the plunge. It'll be worth it."


Dek Woolfson - Bristol

"I finally admitted that I needed to get some adult swim lessons just after the birth of my daughter. The biggest hurdle for me was not the water, but the thought that as an adult I should already be able to swim and admitting to another person I needed to be taught. Any fears about this, or actually swimming were very quickly put to rest by the excellent instructor, and a very thorough well explained and advised set of 4/5 lessons followed.


Having only stopped going due to location and convenience of my local branch of the gym instead, the lessons and instructor are very poor in comparison and will soon be returning to the create fit team for a few more lessons. In short, well worth every penny, and exactly what I was looking for. Very good knowledge, explanation and practice drills. Thank you."

Jon Hills - Bristol

"As an adult new to swimming, I was quite anxious and very self conscious about getting started so late. The person I dealt with is super patient, helpful and attentive and friendly. He is always quick answer any queries about the site, or bookings. The block booking system is also a good deal. I totally recommend the person I dealt with and his teaching."

Hilary O'Shaunessey - Bristol

"I have been having near weekly swimming lessons with Mark for approximately 6 months now. I approached him earlier this year as a complete novice - I 'learnt' to swim as a child in primary school, but since had not practiced and as such was at ground zero when I started lessons with him.


I knew within completing the first session that Mark was the teacher/trainer that I needed - following my first session I went on to book a block of x6 further sessions! His style of teaching makes you feel at ease almost instantly and his knowledge and experience provides the peace of mind needed to learn with him.


I opted to learn front crawl initially and now that I am feeling confident with my stroke and technique we are moving on to breast stroke, and who knows where it will go in the future! If you are contemplating Mark as a trainer, don't hesitate and book him in today - you won't be disappointed!"

Warren George - Bristol

"The instructor filmed my swimming in my first lesson. He then explained, using the video, what I wasn't doing quite rightly ... my front crawl changed for the better in that 1/2 hour.


I thoroughly enjoyed each and every lesson I had with him. I always felt like I had learnt something new, improved and gained confidence after each lesson. I loved his patience and passion - he would never get tired of repeating the techniques / drills that needed doing. He is a great listener, caring and encouraging. He would always ask how I felt the swimming was coming along, if I had concerns and would provide guidance and advice.


I have gone from being barely able to swim to now swimming over 2000 metres as well as doing open water swimming."

Syndia Holt - Bristol

"I'd highly recommend Mark and CreateFit for anyone wanting to improve their swimming performance. The professional and focused training has greatly improved both my technique and confidence."

Chris Davis - Bristol

I've known Mark on and off for decades and had already purchased his eBooks a few years ago to help improve my technique - which indeed they did!  That said, I wanted to go up another level with my swimming, and having a lesson with him just reinforces how Mark's buzz in life is to see his students thriving!

His skills are polished to the point where he knows exactly how to motivate you to want to give 100% to improvement.  His manner and style belie his lifelong skill of coaching athletes at all levels.

I recommend Mark highly - despite it meaning I might have difficulty getting my own sessions when he's so popular!"

Roddy Kohn - Bristol

"I can't recommend Create Fitness highly enough, I could barely swim when I first went but after 3 lessons felt calm and confident in the water, and even completed a sprint triathlon. The lessons are well structured as to not feel overwhelming but still made huge progress each time. The instructor had the perfect balance of relaxed good humour and an attention to technical detail. I would recommend to anyone looking to learn to swim or improve their technique at any level. Hugely enjoyable and excellent value for money."

Clare Carter - Bristol

"With Mark's help I have just successfully completed the Scilly Isles Swim challenge completing 17kms in one long day from islands to islands. I didn't think I could do this having only learnt to swim a year ago but Mark gave me the confidence and the skills to believe in myself. When I set off and very quickly became last as all the good swimmers came past me I kept remembering Mark's words "it's not about being first Lucy, its about achieving this, doing it, being pleased with yourself that you have come this far in so little time - enjoy the moment and each leg of the swim for what it is".  I did just that and a wonderful oceans swimmer Bethan French swam with me the last three kms and helped me make the final leg in rather big seas. I can thoroughly recommend Mark. He is an inspirational coach and for me compared to other swimming instruction I have received shows me what to do and why as opposed to giving me a lot of drills that I fail to understand the connection with."

Lucy Vincent - Bristol

"I took on swimming a few years ago after my doctor recommended it to manage back pain following a car accident however my limited abilities (I learnt breaststroke largely by myself) meant that I started to feel frustrated in the pool. I decided to get professional advice and booked my first ever swimming lesson with Mark about a year ago. This was one of the best decisions I made! The few bad habits that I had picked up over the years were quickly corrected and I now feel much more confident with my breaststroke technique. After a few further sessions, I was able to swim front crawl as well, and I am now planning to learn backstroke. Highly recommended!"

Stéphanie Massin - Bristol

"When I had my first lesson with Mark in Oct 2016 I could just about make my way to the end of a 20m pool. I had no technique and needed about 5 minutes to compose myself before another. I hated swimming.
In July last year, I am so proud to say that I did the 1 mile Great North Swim.
I'm doing the 2-mile this year.

His approach is brilliant - every lesson felt like I was taking huge strides - or rather strokes forwards.
Thank-you to my teacher, for giving me the opportunity to do something I never thought was possible."

Ferg Adam - Bristol

"My partner bought me a course of stroke development lessons with an instructor as a birthday present. I was really quite nervous about going to the pool and having to do front crawl infant of a coach, but he is the sort of person that you instantly warm to. I was put right at ease, and looked forward to each of the development challenges. we worked through the drills in a logical order, building on each element week by week, with plenty of time for me to go away and practise in between.

The instructor uses some pretty clever software on his iPad to film your stroke, and this really helped me to understand how to improve, both under the water and on the recovery part of the stroke.

I would recommend his approach to anyone, if you have an interest and want to improve, but don't know how to, get in touch!"

Steve Black - Bristol

"Before we started working with the person I dealt with on our swimming my partner could not swim at all, I could hardly swim but not with a recognisable stroke. In less than a year later we have been swimming and snorkelling in the Pacific Ocean, the Andaman Sea and the Lybian Sea. Our experiences during our holidays have been transformed by our new found ability to swim and the confidence we now have in the water.

He uses a relaxed coaching style that focuses on constant improvement while breaking down each stroke into easy to practice parts. We would recommend him to both beginners and experienced swimmers who wish to improve their swimming."

Lilian Copeland - Bristol

"I thought I should let other people know if they are thinking of using a swim coach then don't waste any more time looking and instead just contact Create Fitness Bristol & benefit from his vast knowledge & experience into making you a faster stronger & much improved swimmer no matter what stroke you use. 

I contacted Mark & have been using him to greatly improve my stroke and the guy is a magician when it comes to making you a better & more confident swimmer. He is a very calm, patient, knowledgeable coach & passionate about making you a better swimmer from the first session. He never rushes the coaching & gives you constant feedback & encouragement in each session. With the added bonus of a perfect pool setup and with him videoing you as you swim to show what things you were doing wrong is a huge benefit & the quickest way to improve using his instruction & coaching. 

I would fully recommend CreateFit to anyone who wants to improve any aspect of their swimming no matter how good or bad they think they are. I myself will continue using him to benefit me improving my other strokes. 

You can even check out his online swim coaching tips & like I said this guy is a magician in the coaching world of swimming."

Carl Baxter - Bristol

"Mark Durnford for me was excellent.

He helped me gain confidence in the pool and also helped me to learn how to swim breast stroke. I could only just about do front crawl when I attended swim lessons with him.

I can now confidently swim in the deep end of a pool and breath whilst front crawling.

All of this was achieved literally only after 5-6 sessions with Mark.

The one to one sessions are so helpful and tailored to your individual needs, hence why my confidence grew so quickly.

Thanks so much!!!!

Aysia Holmes - Bristol

"I would highly recommend CreateFit to anyone looking to learn or improve their swimming skills.


If you have a bit of a phobia like I did, then I highly recommend using Mark as your coach as he is simply the best! Very professional and really know his stuff.


Thanks Mark, I was able to show off my swimming skills on my 30th birthday in Greece!"

Kiki Paddy - Bristol

"You'll be in very good hands with the coaches here.


Mark is patient, compassionate and encouraging, and his ability to communicate and teach are exceptional. Sarah is also amazing: focused on the needs of the learner, very calm, accommodating and able to pass on her passion for the sport.


Thoroughly recommended."

Susana Duarte Flores - Bristol

I cannot recommend Mark highly enough as a swimming coach. I came to him without any sort of real swimming background with the aim to being able to complete an ocean-based triathlon.

Through his coaching sessions I developed my technique and confidence within the water, which allowed me to successfully complete, what initially looked like a daunting swim.

His patient approach was exactly what I needed, and he broke down the swimming stroke into manageable chunks which we developed at an appropriate speed.  I always felt very comfortable in asking questions and raising any concerns or queries along the way.

Mark was able to translate instruction into easy to understand bits of information, his analogies with other sports were particularly helpful.

Having been someone who only rarely went swimming, I am now regularly swimming in the pool and in open water.
I am really enjoying being able to swim for distances I never thought I would have been able to.
I am currently overseas, but I will definitely be heading back to see Mark to help develop things further.

Thank you Mark, great job!!“

Brindley Walker - Bristol

"My wife encouraged me to sign up to swimming lessons so we could go together with our new baby.


Apart from ad-hoc trips to the swimming pool at school 25 years previously I had no experience of swimming and no real confidence of being in the water.


As a complete beginner, Mark made me feel completely at ease and after a few weeks of lessons my confidence began to grow and I started to see that swimming was not the impossible task I had thought it to be. It was such a good feeling after each lesson, knowing that I was improving and Mark was always very patient and encouraging.


It is tempting to think that you are the one person who won't ever get it and Mark made efforts to covey that everyone is capable but you have to believe in it yourself. Since starting the lessons I have been to the pool on my own to practice which I would never have contemplated doing before.


I would recommend Mark to anyone wishing to learn to swim, regardless of your age or ability."

Diarmid Henry - Bristol

"Mark came highly recommended to me from a variety of sources - some excellent swimmers, some beginners.


I was really nervous before my first lesson. I could get up and down the pool without drowning but had no idea about technique. Mark helped me develop skills and technique, unpicking my stroke and starting right from the beginning - yes I was that bad!


His style is relaxed and really positive - crucial attributes when learning to swim. He was really specific with drills that I could use to help particular parts of my stroke and, by having lessons every few weeks, I made huge progress and can now confidently swim for an hour or more in the pool or open water.


Mark helped me to feel really good about my swimming so that it is no longer a training day I dread, rather it is one that I look forward to and I squeeze extra swims into my schedule whenever possible."

Lucy Bird - Bristol

"I took up swimming front crawl two years ago, starting from scratch. I really struggled for over a year, and tried four different coaches with little success.


I then made the journey to Mark in Bristol and it was fantastic! Straightaway he spotted the key problems and gave me a simple drill that set me on the right route. He gave me belief and confidence in my stroke and I am now really enjoying my swimming.


I couldn't recommend him more highly. He has a relaxed and friendly approach, which is also expert and incisive. His e-books the best thing on the internet to back up the lessons in the pool. Thank you so much Mark."

Steve Tompkins - UK

"I cannot recommend Mark and all the crew at Createfit enough.


I never had swimming lessons as a child. I was therefore self taught and not the most stylish of swimmers !! I’d previously been told by other swimming coaches that it couldn’t happen now due to entrenched bad habits ... Mark Durnford wasn’t having any of that! He has been so encouraging and supportive and I’ve felt so pleased with my progress following his sessions. I really feel the need to encourage others who are similarly lacking in confidence about learning new skills a bit later in life to sign up .. one of the best things I’ve done in recent years!!"

Sarah Phillips - Bristol

“I had a few sessions with Mark when I decided to get back in the pool for (nearing 40 years old) fitness after several years’ absence.


Mark is a lovely guy, really clear as a teacher / coach and I honestly saw vast improvements even within the first session. Great use of ipad video as well to show me where I could improve. Well worth the money and I would highly recommend.”

Will Forrest - Bristol

"Mark's a really accomplished tutor, and transformed my front crawl from an inefficient, un-effective & splashy mess into something much more graceful."

Conrad Jackson - Bristol

"I had a series of swimming lessons with Mark, and improved tremendously. Mark is a great teacher who is patient, encouraging and I will definitely be back if I need any top-up lessons! :)"


"I cannot rate Mark highly enough.


My sessions with Mark are always varied and interesting. He is able to challenge you so that you always walk out of the water feeling you've improved. After around six sessions I feel my freestyle stoke came on in leaps and bounds and I am really enjoying swimming again."

Finn Henderson - Bristol

"I went from not being able to swim to completing a half iron-man. Mark is an excellent swimming coach who is able to tailor any swimming session to match your skill level and his tuition was invaluable in getting me to the stage where I was comfortable with swimming long distances."

Dave Hall - Bristol

"I had already signed up to do a sprint triathlon when I realised that I couldn’t do more than a length of front crawl without getting out of breath. A few lessons with Mark sorted this out completely! His knowledge and relaxed teaching style helped me to improve very quickly.


I think having one-to-one teaching in a quiet pool was so important to seeing results. The video feedback was particularly useful to show me that swimming is as much about technique as fitness.

I have now done a few sprint events and am now looking forward to next year’s goal to do an open water triathlon... with the help of the CreateFit team!!"

Steve - Bristol

"As an adult of 46 who had never learned to swim properly, couldn't manage more than a few strokes, and was pretty scared of water, I was quite nervous going into swimming lessons with Mark, but really wanted to crack my lifelong fear of swimming in order to be able to enjoy the water on an upcoming trip to New Zealand.


Mark's very supportive demeanour, lovely personality and expert advice proved to be exactly what I needed. He is very passionate about teaching each stroke correctly, so that I emerged from my lessons not only able to swim, but to do so to a high standard. I can't recommend CreateFit highly enough, and am planning to go back to learn the backstroke!"

Susan Breen - Bristol

"Mark is a what one might call a “natural” instructor. He is very food at explaining how things should be done and why and has the ability to make one feel at ease in uncomfortable and frustrating situations.


At the age of 40, I could not swim at all, and did not very much like the thought of having my face fully immersed in water. By the end of the first lesson Mark had me doing a few strokes of front crawl! I thoroughly enjoyed my swimming lessons and I’d like to thank Mark for helping me to feel more confident in the water."

Lili Perry - Bristol

"Highly recommended. Mark is an excellent trainer with both a great deal of experience but also with an extremely friendly and enthusiastic manner."

Alec Snow - Bristol

"Thanks very much to Mark for a great course of adult swimming lessons. I'd lost all confidence in my abilities around water and needed someone to bring back that confidence and help (a lot!) with my techniques.


Mark was warm, friendly and a great coach. I would recommend him unreservedly. Also a comfortable, quiet & relaxed environment to learn in."

Debrah Maltby - Bristol

"Why not celebrate the opening of sport venues with swimming. No matter how old you are, whether you are a swimmer, or always wanted to learn to swim, even if you are afraid of water as I was.

Mark Durnford is the most incredible teacher who has given me confidence and taught me to swim. He is very patient, has a sense of humour, is dedicated, kind and persuasive at encouraging you to do what you want to achieve. My friend George and I simply love Mark. We would highly recommend Mark to anyone. If you are looking for an excellent and amazing swimming coach at any level, Mark is always the one to contact, every time.

If you are not sure, try for yourself and see, you are guaranteed to not be disappointed."

Margaret Duncan - Bristol 

"The CreateFit Coaching Team has helped me improve my swimming technique hugely.


I chose to have one to one lessons as I thought I would get more out of it and I definitely did.


They are very patient and give great constructive feedback and exercises for you to work on.


Fellow swimmers have commented on how much faster and better I now swim.


I have recommended CreateFit to a number of friends and wouldn't go anywhere else."

Karen Sargent - Bristol

"Having been a non-swimmer all my life (now in my 50’s), many times over the years, especially family holidays as I sat beside the pool, I promised myself, one day I would finally learn to swim. Years passed by, I put It off. Finally, early 2022, I became determined to “take the plunge” & as one does, I searched on line available options & read reviews.


I was drawn to Create Fitness reading excellent reviews of non / poor swimmers, & their lessons & achievements with Mark. I block booked 10 lessons, to fully commit, wary if only 1 lesson, all too easy to have found an excuse to not progress.


Mid January, I arrived for 1st lesson, apprehensive & with genuine dislike & distrust of putting my head in the pool.


Mark immediately helps to put long-standing apprehensions at ease, one by one. Through Mark’s experience, skill, professionalism & engaging approach to all, Mark has taught, encouraged & empowered me through weekly lessons, to progress from someone who at best swam a few metres, head out of water, inefficiently, to now comfortably swimming & enjoying the sensation of being in the water - even swimming underwater - where 400 metres now the very achievable goal for my next lesson with Mark & with a true belief in my newly achieved abilities & sense of achievement - at last!


I now look forward to each lesson with Mark & how I can achieve more each lesson - something prior to these lessons with Mark & Create Fitness I couldn’t have for a moment envisaged saying - all those years, family holidays, etc, avoiding the pool - why didn’t I do this sooner?


Thanks Mark - really grateful."

Tim Strawbridge - Bristol

"I am an intermediate swimmer and came to Mark to improve my front crawl technique and times.

Mark is extremely knowledgeable and experienced. He breaks the stroke down into manageable bite-sized drills with imaginative explanations which stick in my mind. The sessions are appropriately paced with customised solutions to fit my specific swim profile.

Mark is friendly, approachable, enthusiastic, patient and very encouraging. He has taken the time to send me video clips of swim techniques that he feels I would particularly benefit from.

Best of all I am now swimming faster and more economically. I will certainly be back for some more lessons in a few months, once I have consolidated the instruction Mark has given me so far."

Lorraine Ralph - Bristol

"Mark is an excellent swimming teacher. He puts you at your ease, is really knowledgeable and communicates what he wants you to do very clearly.


I had a couple of one to one lessons with him to tune up my front crawl after a 20 year lapse. He pointed out several things I would never have picked up on and now I feel I'm making much more efficient progress through the water."

Claire Greenfield - Bristol

"I loved my lessons with Mark.


I am not especially sporty or fit, and wanted to improve my dreadful front crawl.


I was delighted with how much progress I made, and how much fun the lessons were. Mark is a great motivator, and brilliant at explaining how to carry out the stroke in a way that works.


I also teach as a job, and found myself noting down his coaching techniques to use myself.


You will not regret signing up for a lesson - the pool is also lovely and you can use the sauna/steam room so it's a treat all round. Cannot recommend highly enough!"

Josie McLellan - Bristol

"It was a really enjoyable first swimming lesson. I came away inspired, encouraged and looking forward to using all the new techniques Mark, the instructor, showed me.

Lots to now embed into my swim! I hesitated to book a lesson for far too long and needn’t have been nervous as the style of coaching made me feel really comfortable from the word go.


The analogies Mark used were useful in helping to make things clear, plus they made complete sense!


A really inspiring session! He was clearly passionate about improving swimming.


I’ll be sure to book another session once I’ve embedded what I learnt in this first one!"

Aruna Gunawardana - Bristol

You have changed my life finally teaching me to swim front crawl properly after 40 years!  I can't believe it was so easy!  My posture is better now in all my strokes and I am fitter - Swimming 50-60 lengths, 3-4 times a week at the moment.  

Swimming has kept me sane this year - in fact it was one of the things I missed the most when the pool closed in lockdown twice! I shall be back to learn tumble turns!"

Bryony - Bristol

"Had a swimming lesson with Mark to try and improve my front crawl and was amazed at how much progress I made. Mark is an incredible teacher, explaining everything very simply and a great motivator. Can't wait to get back in the water to put it all into action."

Hazel Donovan - Bristol

bottom of page