This slideshow requires Adobe Flash Player 9.0 (or higher). JavaScript must be enabled.


Mermaid Swimming Academy

Photographer: Dennis M. Sabangan


Swimming gracefully like mermaids: Normeth Preglo of the Philippines had the idea when she was looking for a mermaid costume and slipped on a fishtail. This inspired her to try if she could actually swim with the tail on. Preglo then partnered with US swimming instructor Djuna Rocha whose students include San Francisco police officers. With its curious combination of fun, functionality and whimsicality, many people wanted to experiment mermaid swimming. An increasing interest in this new practice was the final push for Preglo and Rocha to create the Philippine Mermaid Swimming Academy (PMSA) in Boracay, in 2012. The swimming lessons were brought to Manila in April 2013 for people eager to try what the pioneers describe as an ethereal 'dream-like' experience. The academy is more focused on swimming classes but to complete the experience, mermaid party packages for children (minimum age being 6) and adults are also offered. The price for a two-hour class is 37 US dollars. Students need to know the basics of swimming before joining the mermaid swim camp. PMSA-Manila, to date, registered more than one hundred students since its start. Their business is not limited to Philippines as the Mermaid Swimming Academy has also branched out in Germany. Married to a German national, Preglo has taken up teaching duties abroad. Mermaids are also called Sirenas in the Philippine mythology. It is said that the aquatic creatures live in 'an island with a flowery meadow.'