“At the end of the class, I had new respect for Ariel and what it takes be a mermaid.”

By Claire Trageser
Updated: February 14, 2017

A new class at the Hotel Del in Coronado, California, shows there’s probably a reason Ariel the mermaid is always in bikini tops.

Mermaid Fitness classes at the beachfront hotel have participants donning colorful mermaid tails and flipping their fins for 45-minute core workouts.

The mermaid tails, made from stretchable nylon, were already for sale at the hotel gift shop. Instructor Veronica Rohan said she got the idea for the fitness classes after seeing how popular the tails were.

“Guests were so excited to be a mermaid,” she said. “It’s a fun way to exercise.”

The classes combine swimming, core, cardio and strength training in the hotel pool. If you buy a tail, which cost around $125, the first class is free. Otherwise classes are $25.

Don’t worry, King Triton fans, tails are available for men, too—although Rohan said no men have yet joined the class. Everyone has to wear a bathing suit under their tails.


Kat Odom took the class last August and said getting into the tail was easier than she expected.

“You set it down on the side of the pool and the instructor shows you how to get in,” she said. “You step into it and roll the tail part down, put your feet in the fin and strap your feet in, then roll the tail up your body.”

“Then off you go,” she said.

The classes begin with core work on the side of the pool, including an exercise where you sit on the edge of the pool, glide your legs through the water, bring them up into the air and then go back down.

Then the mermaids come to the middle of the pool to learn how to swim with their tails. Odom said they started swimming with noodles to keep from flailing around.

“It’s a really unique experience,” she said. “Normally you just want to start kicking your legs, but you can’t, so the tail really engages your core.”

The instructor Rohan said the tail “engages the core in every aspect of the class instead of relying on your legs when swimming.” The water resistance also enhances the ab workouts participants do on the side of the pool.

“Participants say they’re taking the class to experience being a mermaid while working out,” she said. “A lot of people are excited and say they feel like Ariel from The Little Mermaid.”

Rohan said while she has a few guests who’ve taken multiple classes, “For a lot of people, it is a bucket list item to be a mermaid just once.”

While most come for the Instagram photo opps, Rohan said the class is also an intense workout.

“People are surprised at how sore they are the next day,” she said.

That was true for Odom. She said she didn’t feel the burn during the class because she was swimming in the pool, but she was sore later: “The water resistance itself engages muscles you’re not used to using when working out,” she said.

Because the pool sits at the edge of the ocean, Odom said it enhanced the feeling that she was a mermaid in the ocean.


“At the end of the class, I had new respect for Ariel and what it takes be a mermaid,” she said.