Dr. Mary Wykle knows the benefits of using water for rehabilitative and therapy purposes.
Within her life-long involvement with all aspects of aquatics she has designed and implemented
numerous programs which aid individuals in need of rehabilitative measures.
Starting as a swimming instructor at Saint Mary College in Leavenworth, Kansas, in the
1970's, she integrated adapted aquatics' techniques into her courses to meet the needs of
many students with chronic medical conditions. She began working with breast cancer survivors in the water.
In the 1980's, she began to focus more on rehabilitating orthopedic injuries and surgeries. Today, Dr. Wykle has become a dominate
force in promoting the use of the aquatic medium in rehabilitating injured military personnel. The wife of a retired general,
Mary arranged to meet both the U.S. Surgeon General of the Army and the Army's Chief Physical Therapist about the benefits
of using the aquatic medium in treating injured solders and providing training and rehab in aquatic therapy for solders in
Iraq and Afghanistan. This has led to her spearheading the initiation of aquatic rehab training for solders with overuse orthopedic
injuries in Iraq. Programs are set up at various hospitals including the main program at Walter Reed Army Medical Center
in Washington, D.C. In April 2006, she gave the White House Wellness Briefing on the benefits of aquatic therapy and exercise
to broaden the awareness of positive aquatic activities. She has published numerous articles on aquatic therapy in the military
including her book, Transitioning Yoga and Pilates Between Land and Water, along with videos, standards and position papers.
Currently an assistant professor at Northern Virginia Community College, Mary earned undergraduate and graduate degrees in
Physical Education at West Virginia University and a Ph.D. in Curriculum and Instruction at Saint Louis University. She is the
Chairman of various aquatic therapy committees and has developed Safety Standards and Guidelines for Therapy Pools, Safety
Standards For Aquatic Therapy Practitioners and trademarked a course as Aqua Pi-Yo-Chi utilizing Yoga, Pilates and Ai Chi.
She developed the RAST (Risk Awareness and Safety Training) Course providing instructors and practitioners with tools to evaluate
and modify their practice facility and ways to work with clients and participants. The course provides basic safety information
and underlines special skills for use in therapeutic and rehab situations. It is used by national organizations such as Aquatic
Therapy and Rehabilitation Institute, USA Swimming and Aquatic Exercise Association. She wrote the comprehensive manual
upon which the course is based.
She developed an international aquatic program “Aqua Pi-Yo-Chi” which serves those persons in need of balance and core
strength. The program, as well as her workshops in Balance and Gait-retraining, Lumbar/Pelvic Stability for Spinal Fusions, Ai
Chi for Lower Extremity Amputees, Aquatic Yoga for Multiple Sclerosis, Essentials for Aquatic Programming, Transitioning
Sports Rehab to Water, Grounding Ai Chi and Program Validation through Research in Aquatic Therapy provide state-of-theart
education for adults who work with individuals with disabilities.
Mary is the founder of MW Aquatics offering specialized consulting in aquatic health and safety and MW Associates, consultants
in aquatics and health management. She is a member of various advisory committees and boards including the Aquatic
Therapy and Rehabilitation Institute, Inc.; International Council for Aquatic Therapy and Rehabilitation Industry Accreditation
Committee and the National Alliance for Nutrition and Activity representing the United States Water Fitness Association. She
has served as Area Chairman of the American Red Cross in Japan, Okinawa, Philippines, Guam, South Korea, Germany, and
throughout the Middle East and Europe. At Scott Air Force Base, Mary implemented a health living program “Turn Unwanted
Fat into Fitness” (TUFF). It was selected as the best program in the U.S. Air Force. She developed a program for military spouses
to improve time management, stress management, leadership, team building and protocol. In Seoul, South Korea, she trained
solders in First Aid, CPR, Lifeguarding and as Water Safety Instructors.
She has published eleven manuals and twenty-three articles on aquatic therapy, rehab, nutrition and general fitness.
Previous Award Recipients...
Elizabeth "Libby" Andersen
Dr. Monica Lepore
Dr. Julian Stein
Mary Essert (El Cerrito, CA)
Mary Essert is the founder of Mary Essert and
Associates, maker of many videos and tapes on water fitness, founder of
"Move It or Lose It" and active with Grace Reynolds at the YMCA.
Ruth Sova (Port Washington, WI)
Ruth Sova is founder of the Aquatic Exercise
Association (AEA) and the Aquatic Therapy and Rehab. Institution.
She is a well-known entrepreneur and speaker around the world.
Louise Priest (Indianapolis, IN)
Louise Priest is the mother of adaptive aquatics.
She wrote the Red Cross aquatic materials and is now Director of Communications
with the Jeff Ellis Organization.
Grace Reynolds (Longview, WA)
Grace Reynolds was head of "Swimming for Special
Populations" for the national YMCA for years and head of "Project Aquatics"
and "Project Aquatics Mainstreaming". She is founder/president of
Disability International Foundation (DIF).
John K. Williams, Jr. (San Diego, CA)
John K. Williams, Jr. graduated from San Diego
State University with a B.A. degree in Therapeutic Recreation and is now
an aquatic consultant. Speaker at numerous workshops on Adaptive
Aquatics, he spends his summers working at Camp Able.