The Germans seem to agree, as evidenced by the first annual mermaiding competition, which was held in the small town of Suhl on Saturday, September 24th. The event was opened to people from the ages of 8-100 years old, and while mermaid may imply that the sport is exclusive to women, men are also allowed to compete. This year’s oldest competitor was 48.
Just what exactly does a mermaiding championship entail? Essentially, these ‘merthletes’ compete in a swimming race with beautiful, shimmering tails and matching mermaid-esque attire, including colorful bikini tops and hair decorations. Children swim a distance of 50 meters and adults compete across 100 meters. This is relatively short for a typical swim race, but that seems fair enough considering that the merthletes have significantly restricted range of motion in their legs.
The youth division is actually fiercely competitive, and Bavarian-native Lotta Müller was the standout gold medalist here. As for the adults, Alexander Sengpiel, who also hails from Bavaria, won by just a thin margin.
This rather peculiar niche sport has truly been on the rise in recent years. In fact, more and more mermaiding swimming schools are opening in major cities throughout Germany, including places like Munich and Berlin. So, if you haven’t been able to shake the childhood fantasy of one day becoming a mermaid — thanks Ariel — be sure to train up for next year’s event.