Photo: Philippine Mermaid Swimming Academy
Photo: Philippine Mermaid Swimming Academy

Maybe you’re looking for some fun and tough ab training. Maybe you want to live out a childhood (or adulthood) dream. Whatever the case, “mermaiding” may the fantasy workout you’ve been looking for.

So-called “Mermaid Schools” have popping up around the country and around the world over the past few years and tailor to a particular interest: swimming like a mermaid.

Swimmers who have worked as “professional mermaids” in performance shows and on television have been around for years, according to the website of the Philippine Mermaid Swimming Academy. But classes teaching people how to mermaid, though in demand, had never been created.

“PMSA is the first in the Philippines and in the world to introduce a ‘school’ concept for mermaid swimming, with instructional classes, making ‘mermaiding’ accessible to everyone, with programs structured in a safe and fun environment, and designed to cater to all age groups and genders.”

Photo: Philippine Mermaid Swimming Academy
Photo: Philippine Mermaid Swimming Academy

Our beautiful mermaids at the Lind hotel, last Thursday, performing their newest synchronized routine and tricks. Mesmerizing all the guests with their smiles and their tails! Was an amazing moment for sure 󾆢󾭛

Posted by Philippine Mermaid Swimming Academy on Sunday, March 20, 2016

"My Mermaid Experience was awesome. Agatha was an amazing Instructor. She was very patient and encouraging, even though…

Posted by Philippine Mermaid Swimming Academy on Thursday, June 30, 2016

With PMSA as the original, many other schools have followed, opening everywhere from Germany to Michigan with hopes of teaching kids and adults how to swim with a mermaid tail and properly navigate pools and open water. Photo shoots are often also available.

Why are people young and old headed out to training sessions to learn how to swim with fins? “It’s great for your abdominals,” said Juila Sardella, a French synchronized swimmer and former Vegas professional mermaid operating a mermaid school in France. Other schools mirror the sentiment, citing the practice as an interesting way to stay fit.

Like Sardella, the founders of mermaid schools often come from swimming, performing, and scuba diving backgrounds. Some schools, like those available at PMSA, offer more advanced programs for licensed scuba divers.

All mermaid instructors, though, seek to teach their students about the joy and escape that being a mermaid can bring. “Some people come for curiosity,” Sardella continued, “some because they have a dream of being a mermaid.”

Beyond just capitalizing on The Little Mermaid fantasy, mermaiding seeks to bring people as close as they can to living a fairy tale.