Special Mermaids: Synchronized Swimmers With Down Syndrome
Meet the Special Mermaids, an award-winning team of synchronized swimmers with Down syndrome. 🧜♀️
Swimming with Special Abilities
In Mexico, the Special Mermaids are proving that yes, it’s possible. Special Mermaids started off as a thesis project where the goal was to bring together a really beautiful, complex sport, synchronized swimming, and the psychological benefits that it can give to a group of people. In 10 years, they’ve won more than 50 medals internationally, in Taiwan, Brazil, Puerto Rico, Italy. The Special Mermaids compete, at least once every six months.
A Special Mermaids practice is very similar to any regular team’s practice because the girls work in the water, do strength training, work on specific skills, do routines, then get out of the water and do floor work, which builds strength and flexibility. They do these three or four times a week, for two or three hours, depending on how many events we have according to the Department of Health Information (Mexico).
In Mexico, 600 babies are born each year with Down Syndrome, a genetic disorder that affects their development. Sports help them to: improve spatial orientation, improve body posture, improve balance, improve coordination, develop muscle strength.
What needs to be known about the girls is that they have different abilities. With Down Syndrome, they’re very intelligent girls, and they’re very capable. They’re everything and they can do anything. To their coach, what really stands out about them isn’t their condition. It’s their dedication, it’s the intensity with which they swim, that feeling, and that’s what has made them so successful, because they want to win, but it’s not like they always want to win and get the medal. What they really want – and they’ll tell anyone this – is to swim beautifully to show their families and their friends how well they can do a routine. They have different condition, but they’re beautiful people, just like everyone else.