As mermaids across the globe travel to compete on an international stage, one Mississippian will be featured among the top aquatic athletes looking to earn worldwide recognition in the unique sport.
From May 24-26, Hattiesburg native Emily Shaw, colloquially known as Storm Siren, will have the opportunity to showcase her skills internationally in the 2024 Merlympics being held in Switzerland.
At an early age, Shaw, who has been honored as Miss Mermaid Mississippi for three consecutive years, knew that she wanted to be a mermaid, and upon her discovery that there were professionals who competed in a sport surrounding the mythological creature, Storm Siren became a reality.
“I’ve been playing mermaid in the pool ever since I was a kid since I could swim, just like any other little girl did. It never went away,” Shaw said on Good Things with Rebecca Turner.
“As I grew up, I got more and more into it and I started doing research and I found that you can actually be a professional mermaid and there are people that make professionally made mermaid tails and I just decided that’s what I want to do.”
At the competition, mermaids will be participating in a speed event involving a 25-meter race, underwater acrobatics, and ecology event in which the participants will rescue a dummy from 25 meters out to safety.
Shaw will be representing Team USA, which is comprised of five members — none of whom live near the Mississippi mermaid — which has posed a few issues that have been rectified with technology. Though the team has not been able to hold a joint practice in person, they have found other means to help fine-tune one another’s individual skills.
“We haven’t been able to get together, but we’ve been recording our practices and sending them to each other to kind of go over what we’re doing, how we would fix it, give each other pointers, and things like that because we are all pretty spread out,” Shaw added. “I know I am at least five hours from my nearest teammate.”
As she competes, the Shaw will continue to raise awareness for ocean cleanup projects including picking up trash along coastlines. Shaw will also remain vocal in her advocacy to support measures to keep sharks from going extinct.
Those looking to support the Mississippian monetarily on her venture to the Merlympics can make a donation here to help cover the cost of Shaw’s airfare and diver’s insurance.
Watch the full interview with Shaw below.
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