Many of us dream of being a mermaid and today at The Mermaid Academy Erin and I tried our hand (or should I say tails) at mermaid swimming. It was a little bit of fun on a windy and wet afternoon but now Erin is determined to further explore being a mermaid and wants regular lessons! I have written previously about how good swimming is for Erin, her consultant encouraged Erin to swim after her hip dsyplasia surgeries and it is also known to help the symptoms of hypermobility syndrome.
The Mermaid Academy
The Mermaid Academy is based in Gloucestershire and holds regular swimming sessions for both children and adults. Erin and I went together to a mummy and daughter experience at a local pool in Brockworth. The session cost just £25 for the two of us for an hour and this included tuition and the loan of the mermaid swimming tails.
The instructors are fully qualified and insured mermaid swimming instructors. They offer weekly mermaid classes in Cheltenham, Tewkesbury, and Gloucester for children aged 6 and above.
Learning Mermaid Swimming
Erin and I were both a little apprehensive and not sure what to expect at The Mermaid Academy for our very first attempt at mermaid swimming. I wanted to release my inner Ariel and Erin is a competent swimmer who wanted to try to be a mermaid! We were welcomed to poolside where Rebecca and Emma were ready and waiting for us. I think there were about 8 mums and daughters in our session. We were fitted for our tails and shown how to put them on. Then we had time for a photo in the clam before we got into the water.
The swimming technique was explained to us and we headed to the shallow end to practice. The children took to it easily and Erin was quickly swimming across the width of the pool with her tail. I, on the other hand, needed a little more encouragement which I received from the instructors.
It feels a bit strange at first as your legs are held together and you can’t walk in the tail. I slithered into the pool and held the side as I got used to the weight of the tail. It is easier to swim under the water, although I had my contact lenses in so my head stayed above water level. The swimming obviously requires using your hips and tummy which is great for toning up that core!
Erin, however, was straight below water which is what she loves! Half an hour into the session she did admit to it being tiring which is music to my ears – as I do like her to feel that she is working hard!
Once we had the basics mastered, it is all hip and belly action, we were shown how to do handstands, roly polys and splashing our fins down. Again Erin was in her element and out swam me. It is no surprise really and she was given the nickname little mermaid by me when she was little as she learnt to swim before she could walk. Erin had hip dysplasia and the water was always her favourite place. She started swimming at 8 weeks old and I never knew how important that was until she was older! Erin didn’t learn to walk because of her ddh and hypermobility. Yet pop her in the pool and she could swim. Water gave her the freedom that land never did!
After her surgeries, she swam again, this time to rehabilitate herself and build up strength. Erin has always felt free in the water and it is certainly her happy place.
The Mermaid Academy gave us the opportunity to enjoy some mother-daughter time doing what she enjoys. However, there is also adult only sessions and these can all be seen on the Facebook page. If you are local in Gloucestershire there are also some FREE taster sessions in Sept so do check them out. I know Erin and I will be back!