Swim Like A Mermaid – How To Guide For Beginners

August 11, 2016

How To Swim Like A Mermaid

I grew up in the water. With a pool in the backyard, my sis and I would play Mermaids all day long. You think I am joking, but I remember sleeping in a swimming suit. These long summer days are where I picked up my love for the water, and the ability to do the dolphin kick. Inspired from the little mermaid, my sister and I would put sink rings around our legs and pretend it was a tail. This early training gave me the foundation to swim the butterfly in high school and college. Now I use it to go Mermaiding and do underwater photo shoots for professional mermaid vendors.  I have taught a few people and decided to make a blog post out of it. Hopefully, this will help you learn step by steps on how to swim like a mermaid.

Swim Like a Mermaid

1. Feel comfortable putting your face in the water

If you are plugging your nose every time you put your head under the water, we have a problem. I taught swimming lessons for years and was surprised by adults who hated putting their face in the water. My suggestion for overcoming this? Learn to do bobs. A bob is where you go under the water, blow out all the air then pop up to take a breath just before going back under the water. Doing this 10x in a row for 3 rounds with a 30 second to 1-minute break is a good drill.  This will help with the natural flow of air going in and out of your lungs as well as put your face in the water.


2. Practice humming under the water

At times, people will blow too much air out and not be able to stay under the water for more than 10 seconds. Try humming under the water out of your nose. Breath in through the mouth (out of the water obviously), and out through the nose (under the water). This way, less air comes out. This will help you during future underwater shoots.

3. Learn the Streamline

A streamline happens when you push off the wall underwater like a torpedo (arms clasp together above your head so tight your biceps touch your ears, hands on top of each other). After you understand the basics, do the same thing with your arms down by your side and kick as long as you can (while humming… I know it’s a lot). Do that 5 times in a row, wait one minute, then do it again as far as you can. This is a must if you want to swim underwater in helping you understand the dynamics of water.

4. Practice holding your breath

Fairly obvious if you are going to be taking pictures and swim underwater. This website is great to find drills for holding your breath. This comes with time so be patient with your Mermaid-self!

5. Opening your eyes underwater

Baby steps! Always start with GOGGLES. “When” you start taking pictures underwater as a mermaid, you will need to feel comfortable with opening your eyes. Depending on the chlorine level, this could irritate the eyes. I was a swimmer for years and it didn’t bother my eyes but then again… I am half mermaid (only half joking).  When you feel comfortable in the water, take off the googles and see how it feels. This can be disorienting, but with more practice, you will feel better.  If your eyes get irritated a simple eye drop will help.



6. Invest in some swim fins

If ANYONE is going to learn how to swim like a mermaid you need some fins. Start out with the ability to swim with your legs independent from the other (meaning, get separate fins before a monofin Mermaid tail).  This will help you get an idea of how it feels when you have these FINS on before moving to a mono-fin.


7. Skulling

What is skulling you ask? This is what you would be doing with your hands if you were a real mermaid popping up out of the water to say hello to the onlooking pirates. A motion of moving your hands back and forth to keep your body afloat.

8. Learn how to kick like a mermaid

Introducing the Dolphin kick.

  1. Start with a basic streamline off the wall (arms down by your side) with 5 big dolphin kicks.  Don’t bend your knees too much. Do each drill 5 times then take a break. Remember that the kick starts all the way up in your chest.
  2.  Next, do the streamline and dolphin kick with your arms in front
  3.  Once this feels comfortable, do the same two drills with fins on. Doing this first with single fins before moving to a mono-fin. You will start to feel it in your core muscles.
  4. Last but not least, use your swimmable Mermaid Tail!

If these instructions are hard to follow or visualize, check out this amazing Youtube video that goes over the steps.


Remember to get your chest into it. Don’t bend your knees too much because it’s a whole body motion.  If you would still like more instruction on the Dolphin kick to check out this instructional video.

Please start off with a fabric mermaid tail as silicone tails are really expensive. I have a comparison chart for you so you can check the price and even get some discount codes!

9. Swim in open water

Swimming in open water is a different experience. There could be currents and the water could be murky. Make sure it’s a safe environment before jumping in! Now get out there and start swimming!

I hope this was helpful! Leave comments below if you have questions.

Mermaid GIF how to swim like a mermaid

10. Take a mermaid class!

The last step is to take a class at a mermaid school. This can help you fine-tune your mermaid kick, add in some different tricks, and become more of a confident swimmer. It’s also a great way to introduce yourself to the mermaid community.

If you are looking for some fabulous swimwear check out Jolyn Swim Wear. They have great one piece or two piece swimsuits that actually stays on when you are swimming! They have vent tops so your top won’t drag while swimming. See the example of a vented top below.

It’s not a bad idea to start with a monofin without the fabric tail first for safety reasons. If you get uncomfortable you can pull off the monofin fairly easy.

I hope this blog post was helpful in showing you how to swim like a mermaid!


Main photo of Athiraa the Mermaid

Photography by Magnus Clarén

More about Everything Mermaid

Molly the owner of Everything Mermaid wrote this post. When she isn't writing about being a mermaid, she is usually traveling the country in an RV trade and writing about it. Her specialties include Mermaid tails, blankets, pillows, and leggings . Sign up for her Mermaid monthly newsletter and hear about discounts and product reviews.

    1. When I get into the water and come out water get into my ears and i don’t know how to roll in the water and I don’t know how to do the side kick

      1. Hi Muhammad!

        Swimming take a lot of practice and patience! You might want to take a few swimming lessons in your community. Just from your message it sounds like you are uncomfortable getting your head underwater. You will naturally get water in your ears. If you are prone to ear infections there are actually ear plugs you can get to prevent this. Keep at it! You will get there!

    1. Hi Molly! I am a dude but I like mermaids and this kind of stuff. I want to be a merman, but firstly I have to learn how to swim like one, holding my breath etc and you are really helping me! Thank you so much! But I have a problem: I know how to swim, but when I dive, I stay for 20-30 seconds underwater and then my feet go to the surface, it seems like I’m being pulled to the surface of the water. Can u help me? What can I do??

      1. Thanks for reaching out Felipe! First of all RELAX! For two reasons 🙂 First of all, I think many merfolk have the same problem, I know I do. We are holding our breathe and going underwater. Anything that has air in it tends to float. 2nd reason to relax might help you stay under longer. If you relax and don’t fill up your lungs so much, you won’t have so much force pulling you to the surface. When you relax underwater, you don’t USE as much oxygen and don’t need to come up to the surface as often for air. In conclusion, Relax by fill up your lungs 1/2 or 3/4th of the way, and enjoy the peace the that water brings. Also, don’t be so hard on yourself 😉 just keep swimming.

    1. Just got my first tail! I am so looking forward to starting, thanks for the tips ! 🙂

    1. Hi! So I have my own tail. And I’m really good at swimming with it, but I can never hold my breath for very long… Would you have any tips, or tricks that I could use? And also, you’re the person that inspired me to make kids dreams, and go to pools sometimes and keep the mermaid spirit going! <3

    1. Hi my name is Samantha. I am 9 and I love mermaids and I am on junior lifegards in orange county. Since you are a pro mermaid will you give me a mermaid class after covid ends.,

      1. Hi Samantha! So great to hear from you! When I was young, I was a lifeguard too! Keep up the good work 🙂 I am located in Austin Texas so unfortunately, I wouldn’t be able to teach you! My suggestion is to join the swim team and put in some work with a monofin. There are some classes in LA if you can make it there! Check out this website: https://www.lamermaidschool.com/book-online
        Best of Luck little guppie!

    1. Hi I really loved the article but I have a problem, I can do the head lead and when I dont take in too much air then I stay under just fine but when I fill my lungs completely (to stay under even longer) I float back up is there a way to use maximum air and keep yourself under or does it only work if filled partway? Thank you so much for your time

      1. Hi Caleb! That is a problem for a lot of mermaids! Some of us wear weights if we are doing a photoshoot. Keep practicing and working on holding your breath longer and longer. Letting out air slowly will also help and might help keep you under the water longer. I hope that helps!

    1. I really appreciate this information on how to swim like a mermaid and like most I dont like being underwater just because I don’t have ears ,nose plugs and eye drops yet even though it’s a must needed .(don’t want any chlorine or natural water bacteria in me).I still want to be a mermaid with my first tail but in my bathtub until the pandemic goes away so I can properly practice Mermaid swimming in a pool hopefully will it still be Mermaid ish if Im just in a tail in a bathtub? I’m 29 years of age and still clinging to my Mermaid dreams.

    1. Hi Molly,
      I don’t have a tail or monofin yet, but…
      I can swim under and above water fine. But I have to wear goggles that cover my eyes and nose because when I go underwater, water always gets in my nose. You said to hum underwater to practice slowly letting out air (I’m so excited to try that!). Does that mean that you have to be blowing out to not get water in your nose?
      Also, I find it much easier to have my hands by my side while doing a dolphin kick, is that normal?

      1. Yes, very normal to swim with your hands by your sides! If you hum through your nose, you can avoid water getting up there. It takes lots of practice but will become second nature the more you do it!

    1. Hi.
      All of this really helped me but there is one thing im still struggling at; Having open eyes underwater. I have practiced in a while now but my eyes just wont stay open! Do you have any extra tips for me?

    1. Hi.
      All of this really helped me but there is one thing im still struggling at; Having open eyes underwater. I have practiced in a while now but my eyes just wont stay open! Do you have any extra tips for me? 🙂

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