TORONTO, Aug. 24 (UPI) — A new swimming school in Toronto is offering lessons for an oft-neglected niche group of swimmers — mermaids.
The Aquamermaid school, which began in February in Montreal and has now begun classes at a Toronto indoor pool, offers students ages 7 and up classes on how to swim with their legs bound inside mermaid tails.
The mermaid tail trend has been spreading worldwide, with Britney Spears sharing a mermaid-tail snapshot on Instagram and famous toddler cousins North West and Penelope Disick donning their own mermaid costumes for an encounter with a costumed performer in St. Barts, France.
“Business is great. We actually have a lot of popularity in our adult classes, surprisingly,” Olivia Ginty, an Aquamermaid teacher who describes herself as a “mermaid instructor” and “professional mermaid,” told CBC News.
Aquamermaid is planning to expand to a third city, Ottawa, in September, but mermaid instructors and performers said not all of Canada is receptive to their particular swimming style.
The city of Edmonton, Alberta, has banned mermaid tails from public pools.
“The City of Edmonton has determined that mermaid tails pose a serious safety risk to younger swimmers,” Edmonton spokesman Christopher Webster said.
Performer Krista Visinski is circulating a petition to end the ban and instead put forth rules “to ensure the safety of people who choose to train and dream of life as a mermaid.”
She said she would support a policy like that found in Toronto, which requires swimmers to undergo a swim test before donning a mermaid tail during public swim events.
“It is something that the city is interested in. I think they just banned it more because people are afraid of what they don’t understand, because mermaiding is a bit newer to Canada,” she said.