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Thread: Which standard swimming techniques are best for a beginning mermaid to learn?

  1. #1

    Which standard swimming techniques are best for a beginning mermaid to learn?

    Hello, everyone. ForsakenMermaid here. I'm brand new to both swimming and being a mermaid. My fiance began teaching me how to swim at the beginning of the summer with the end goal of being able to regularly swim in my tail from SunTail Mermaid. I've picked up a few things, but I still have a long way to go. To challenge myself even further, I registered for the October 9th class at L.A. Mermaid School, which gives me two weeks to get good enough to master the pre-requisites listed in the FAQ on their website ( ):

    1. Swim 120 feet without stopping, endangering self or others, complaining, or otherwise appearing to be confused, panicked, upset, or disoriented using proper front crawl or breath stroke swim technique.
    2. Display independence, comfort, and confidence in the water (e.g. no hanging on to parents, wall, floaties, randomly going in to a fetal position and sinking to the bottom of the pool, hiding in a corner, etc.).
    3. Swim WITHOUT displaying "distressed swimmer" indicators per American Red Cross Standards (e.g. must be making deliberate forward progress in water, able to keep head above water for air when needed, not flail in the water).
    4. Be comfortable placing entire body (including face/head) underwater and swimming below the water's surface.
    5. Be able to safely retrieve a submerged object (such as a dive ring) from a depth of 5'.

    Now, as someone who is learning to swim solely with the intention of wearing a mermaid tail, which techniques do the rest of you mers think would be the most important for me to practice over the next two weeks? I figure that the freestyle "front crawl" is always good to know since it's the most basic swimming style and will most likely be what they'll expect everyone to do when they're "tested" at the beginning of the class before putting on our tails. I'm somewhat decent at that now. I also picked up the butterfly stroke surprisingly quickly after putting on my monofin, although I do tend to keep my head out of the water almost the entire time. I feel like it comes a lot more naturally to me in the monofin than any other technique I try to do out of the fin. I actually can't do a dolphin kick at all when I take off the fin, but I can do it just fine once I put it on.

    If I'm intending on only swimming with a tail once I feel comfortable enough in the water, is it even necessary to learn the breast stroke? I can't seem to keep my arms and legs in balance with each other when I try to do it, and I keep switching back from the frog kick to a freestyle kick without intending to. Obviously, I wouldn't even be able to do the breast stroke once I'm wearing my tail, but I'm trying to get better at it for the diving prerequisite of the mermaid school, since I have a lot of trouble staying under the water without floating back up and read that the frog kick helps with that a lot. That's probably the part I'm most worried about potentially getting kicked out of the class for. I'm only able to dive a little bit into the water, and then my body immediately surfaces. It probably doesn't help that I only recently overcame my fear of putting my face in the water either. I haven't tried diving in my tail yet, but my main challenge right now is being able to touch the bottom of the pool at a depth of 5 feet. I managed to reach it at 3.5 feet, but that took hours and hours of practice. I know that sounds silly, but apparently I'm extremely buoyant.

    So, overall, my main question is which techniques would be the best to practice over the next two weeks in order to not get kicked out of L.A. Mermaid School on the spot and to train my body to start wearing my tail on a regular basis whenever I go to the pool? I would appreciate any and all advice that anyone has to offer.

  2. #2
    Senior Member Pod of Oceania Mer-Crazy's Avatar
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    Definitely keep working on your dolphin kick and freestyle. I also suggest learning the dolphin kick without your fin, since I feel like it's important to be able to swim without it too. I don't see the point in breath stroke for a mermaid swimmer, I never use it anyway. However I do highly recommend learning to tread water and scull, it might not help with the LA thing but these can be life saving if you ever find yourself in trouble.

    As for diving it's fairly easy when you know what to do and 5' isn't deep at all so it's very easy to get down to that depth if you use a 'duck dive' which is essentially putting your head down, butt up, using a big sweeping motion with your arms to pull yourself down and then kicking with your feet. You can see it here (though you only need to worry about the first one since you don't really need to equalise)

  3. #3
    Ooh, that looks really useful! I've been watching lots of random beginner swimming and diving videos on YouTube over the past few weeks, and I never saw anything about the "duck dive" technique before. I'll try it this weekend. Thanks!

  4. #4
    Senior Member Pod of Oceania Mer-Crazy's Avatar
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    Here's kind of how it looks in a tail (If you watch Kate in the purple tail she does it a couple of times in this video) it's about the best I could find for now

  5. #5
    Senior Member Undisclosed Pod
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    Jul 2011
    recovery positions are the first thing I teach in mermaid school. Knowing what to do when you panic or get a foot cramp or just get tired. For kids I usually teach them how to half-starfish back float while in the tail in order to get oriented again. For adults I teach that and also a calm tread they can do with their arms (I call it the whirlpool tread) to achieve the same thing.

    I personally feel that learning that is the most important thing first, then other techniques. Sorta like learning to ski- the first thing you learn is how to fall down safely lol

  6. #6
    Thanks for the tip. Floating was the first thing I learned too. My fiance said I wouldn't be comfortable enough to swim in the water until I could float, and he was right. I haven't done it as much in the monofin, but only because I haven't been swimming that much in the monofin yet. I want to practice in it more, but he thinks I need to be really good without it first. Eventually, I would like to start swimming only in the tail and without goggles, but I'm working up to that.

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