Making a splash at Malaysia’s mermaid school

KUALA LUMPUR : Sporting tails made of plastic fins protected by shimmering fabric , five women glided via a pool at a Malaysian town center that shows people how to swim like mermaids .

The academy , in the coastal city of Klang , southwest of Kuala Lumpur , is among several that have sprung up all over the world to cater to the growing popularity of swimmers emulating the mythic creatures . 

“It’s quite tough,” said Koh Yi Xuen, who is 27 and has been learning the special swimming technique for about three years. “We have to open our eyes in the water, and our legs are tied up.”

Lee Boon Leong said he started offering the lessons at his swimming academy after a company approached him and asked to hire someone who could swim like a mermaid for a product launch.

Mermaids, which have the upper body and head of a woman and the tail of a fish, are creatures from folklore.

The Disney animated classic The Little Mermaid, based on the fairy tale by Danish author Hans Christian Andersen, spurred new interest in the creatures and the way they swim in recent years.

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