Why swimming like a mermaid is the new extreme sport

Ariel makes it look easy, but on a course in Cornwall Susan Greenwood finds it takes training in free-diving and underwater breathing to make a splash as a mermaid

It’s not often I find myself woefully underprepared for a story, but watching Disney’s The Little Mermaid and cantering giddily through Newquay seaspray after a six-hour train journey do not, as it happens, prepare one adequately for a session of training to be a mermaid.

Apparently, being a mermaid has now become a profession. Ariel-esque women are employed in aquariums across the globe and as entertainment for guests at posh hotels.

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