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.
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.
- 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.
- Next, do the streamline and dolphin kick with your arms in front
- 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.
- 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.
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