Mermaid swimming courses are coming to Cheltenham
Following the news that mermaid and merman courses are on their way to Cheltenham, I went to watch a class taking place and meet with Fin2Fit directors Amie Holford and Emma Longden to find out more.
Fin2Fit is an ASA-accredited swimming course which teaches participants to swim feet-together with a specialist mono-fin, just like a mermaid. The current course entry standard is ASA Level 5 (or equivalent) and the plan is to widen the courses on offer to allow younger children and even adults to take part.
The idea came from director Amie’s daughter, 6 year old Faith, who dreamt of swimming as a mermaid. As Amie explored the concept, she learnt that most public pools don’t allow mono-fins for practical reasons and the safety of other swimmers. So, Amie started up Fin2Fit with Emma and they have instantly found there is huge demand for classes, with this summer’s courses already fully-booked.
The little mermaids in today’s class, aged between 6 and 11, have been learning to swim with mono-fins at Brockworth Sports Centre since Monday with instructor Becky King. Training began with mastering a couple of swimming stokes (dolphin and butterfly) which most Level 5 swimmers have practiced in their usual swimming classes. Then the mono-fin is introduced, followed by the full mermaid tail.
Today (Thursday) the girls look spectacular and totally natural doing lengths of the pool in shimmering mermaid tails, but along with the fun, safety is paramount. All lessons have an instructor and lifeguard present and Amie explains that they are keen to focus on the importance of safety in the pool as the classes progress. The team are currently working with the RLSS to introduce at least one life-saving skill in every class.
Hot on the heels of the success of this first course, plans are well underway to expand, with discussions ongoing with venues in Cheltenham, a second mermaid taster-course being planned for late-summer and a new instructor training course scheduled for August.
If you are a Level 1 or 2 swimming instructor and would like to find out more about being a Fin2Fit instructor, get in touch with Amie or Emma via the Fin2Fit Facebook page or email firstname.lastname@example.org. They would love to hear from you.
Over the next few months the plan is to offer more courses in Gloucester, and start courses in Cheltenham, with term-time courses taking place weekly and taster courses during school holidays.
As well as improving their swimming, fitness and overall strength, mermaids will be working towards bronze, silver and gold awards, plus the 'life-saving mermaid' award.
To stay up to date with new classes follow the Fin2Fit Facebook page.
Towards the end of my visit this morning I had a chance to speak to Faith, six, who was clearly loving her experience in the pool after mum Amie made her little-mermaid dream a reality. Thinking I knew the answer already I asked who her favourite mermaid was. As I started to write Arie….Faith said, ‘my favourite mermaid is my mummy’. And actually, that makes perfect sense.