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'Mermaid' swimmers ready to take Baku's breath away

Finswimming
Finswimming will feature at Baku 2015 on Saturday 27 June. Getty Images
Finswimming to be demonstration sport at Baku 2015 European Games

The fastest athletes in the water at the Baku 2015 European Games will not be the freestyle swimmers nor their butterfly counterparts.

With a little help from their fins, the ‘mermaids’ and ‘mermen’ from the specialist - and very speedy - underwater world of finswimming will be in action at the Baku Aquatics Centre during the swimming competition.

The sport, which dates from the 1930s, is gaining popularity and is a demonstration sport at Baku 2015. Spectators will be able to see the underwater athletes in action at the end of swimming's morning session on Saturday 27 June.

The best finswimmers in Europe will compete in four races at 50m and 100m in three of the sport’s major disciplines - surface, apnoea and immersion - which will showcase their exceptional speed and ‘dolphin’ techniques.

Propelled by a ‘monofin' into which both feet are placed, swimmers can appear almost turbo-charged.

The world record for 50m freestyle in a regular swimming race is 20.91 seconds, but the finswimming equivalent in the 50m apnoea event, in which competitors wear a monofin and mask and hold their breath under water, is an astonishing seven seconds quicker – the 13.85 recorded by Pavel KABANOV (RUS) at the 25th European Finswimming Championship in Lignano Sabbiadoro, Italy, in 2014.


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