‘Mermaid championships’ are now a real thing

Posted by
Moya Crockett

We don’t know about you, but we thought Ariel had got it all wrong when we first watched The Little Mermaid. She, famously, wanted to be where the people were – but as far as we were concerned, life looked a whole lot better under the sea.

Most of us eventually grew out of our Disney-induced mermaid obsession. But if you still reckon you could hack it alongside Sebastian, Flounder et al, you might want to head over to the German town of Suhl.

The country’s first national mermaid championships took place there over the weekend, with over 100 wannabe mermaids (and mermen) pulling on their tail fins to take part in a first-of-its-kind swimming competition.

“Merthletes” aged between eight and 48 from the states of Bavaria, Thuringia and Baden-Württemberg bagged two medals for each state, The Local reports. The children competed in 50m races, while the adults swam over twice that distance – no mean feat while wearing a tight, sparkly tail.

Mermaid swimming is a cross between free diving and synchronised swimming, according to the Guardian, and “professional mermaids” – who make a living performing at aquariums – wear tails that can weigh up to 40kg and cost over £2,000.

The unusual sporting activity has seen a rise in popularity in Germany in recent years, with mermaid swimming schools opening around the county in cities such as Munich and Berlin.

There are also mermaid swimming schools currently operating in the UK – so if you’ve always dreamed of getting your Ariel on, now’s your chance…

Image: iStock


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Moya Crockett

Moya is Women's Editor at, where she is currently overseeing the Visible Women campaign. Carrying a tiny bottle of hot sauce on her person at all times is one of the many traits she shares with both Beyoncé and Hillary Clinton.

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