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. This is where I picked up dolphin kick and my love for long wavey mermaid hair. This early training helped me swim the butterfly in high school and college. Now I use it to go Mermaiding and do photo shoots.  I have taught a few people and decided to make a blog post of out of it. Hopefully, this blog will help you step by steps of how to swim like a mermaid.

Swim Like a Mermaid

1. Feel comfortable putting your face in the water

Anyone can do this. 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

This will get you comfortable with breathing out your nose. Breath in through the mouth, and out through the nose. This way, less air comes out. If you “hum” rather then blow air, you can stay longer under the water.

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). This is a must if you want to swim underwater. After you understand the basics, do the same 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.

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.  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 Mermaid tail).  This will help you get an idea of how it feels when you have your FINS on. Once you get the dolphin kick down move to the Mono Fin.


7. Skulling

What is skulling you ask? This is what you would be doing with your hands if you were a 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 monofin.
  4. Last but not least, use your 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, it’s a whole body roll.  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. Get out in the ocean or jump in the river. We love the water and will use any excuse to get in right?

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

Mermaid GIF how to swim like a mermaid

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 world 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 ! 🙂

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