About Swimming in Pan Idræt – Copenhagen Mermates

Copenhagen Mermates is the name of the swimming club within Pan Idræt. It is the oldest section of Pan Idræt, and was founded in 1984 by a group of gay men who found themselves unwelcome in other swimming clubs because of irrational fears about AIDS.

Since then, the club has gone from strength to strength and now has around 200 members and offers swimming six days a week.

Copenhagen Mermates has a diverse membership. We are mostly gay men plus some lesbians and the age range goes from around 20 to 70 and beyond. We also have lots of different nationalities, and many of our members have been with us for years. We’re also very popular with exchange students who just join for a season or two.

Our trainers are mostly recruited from among our own members. Most days they come with programmes for A, B and C levels and you can also just swim on your own without a programme if you prefer. On Tuesdays we have a special day for beginners and people who want to improve their technique.

Indoor swimming is divided into two seasons: September to December and January to May. During the summer we have restricted indoor activities due to limited access to city pools, but we also arrange “tour de piscine” where we go to a different pool around the city each week. There is also open water swimming at Amager Beachpark and members arrange informal swims too.

We are very active and travel to competitions and multi-sport events several times a year, such as World OutGames and EuroGames as well as smaller, one-day swimming events. We also hold quite a few parties in the course of the year and of course are always at the Pan Idræt Christmas party too.

If you want to come and give us a try, then please write to swimming@mermates.dk before you come so that we know to expect you and can agree which is the best day for you, as we cannot accommodate all skill levels on every day.

Mermates is also the home of the waterpolo and triathlon groups in Pan Idræt, and we operate with a common membership fee. If you pay for swimming, you can also go to waterpolo and triathlon too.

Copenhagen Mermates

When and Where

NOTE: please don’t arrive late if you want to swim in a programme lane. We cannot guarantee that you can swim if you arrive late – the trainers will not stay until the end of the period for just one or two people.

Monday 20:30 – 22:30 Vesterbro (6 lanes – whole pool) Marco Schaber A, B, C and recreation
Tuesday 21:00-22:00 Hillerødgade (6 lanes – whole pool) Uffe Nyman & Martin Wangel Beginners and technique training, recreation
Wednesday 20:30-22:00 Emdrup (4 lanes) Ólavur Eysturdal A, B, C and recreation
Thursday 20:00-21:00 Vesterbro (3 lanes) Morten Henrik Petersen C and recreation
Friday 19:00-20:30 Vesterbro (6 lanes – whole pool) Jakob Edinger A, B, C and recreation
Saturday 17:00-18:30 Hillerødgade (6 lanes whole pool) The trainers above take turns A, B, C and recreation

Mondays

Marco will have A, B and C programmes ready and will divide the swimmers according to who comes, in order to spread people according to ability. There will always be at least two lanes for recreational swimming.

Tuesdays

Uffe and Martin teach beginners and recreational swimmers who want to improve their technique. There is usually room for other recreational swimmers who want to do their own thing and don’t want any instruction.

Wednesdays

Ólavur, who some of you know from last season, will start as our regular Wednesday trainer and have A, B and C programmes available There is usually room for recreational swimmers but we cannot guarantee that there will be.

Thursdays

This is our new day, and Morten will be our lifeguard keeping an eye on everyone. He will not offer programmes, but will be happy to give you tips if you ask. Thursdays are for recreational and C level swimmers – A and B level swimmers are kindly asked not to come on Thursdays.

Fridays

Everyone is welcome on our most social day. Jakob will have programmes for A, B and C in the water and a playlist ready for the ghetto blaster as accompaniment. There will always be at least two lanes for recreational swimming.

We often go out and eat together afterwards, and some people move on to a bar afterwards.

Saturdays

Our trainers take it in turns and will have A, B and C programmes ready. There will always be at least two recreational lanes.

IMPORTANT: There is a women-only club that swims immediately before us so men must not go into the pool from the changing room before precisely 17:00. 

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Tournaments & Events

We are very active and travel to competitions and multi-sport events several times a year, such as World OutGames and EuroGames as well as smaller, one-day swimming events. We also hold quite a few parties in the course of the year and of course are always at the Pan Idræt Christmas party too.

The Mermates trophy

Each year, the Mermates trophy is awarded to a member who has done something special for the club.

2016 – Mogens Christoffersen
received the trophy for many years of contribution to the club as a swimmer, waterpolo player, treasurer and chairman. Without Mogens, Mermates would not be the success it is today. Mogens steered the finances with a firm, precise and loving hand, meaning that our finances are excellent.

2015 – Stefan Bauer
has been a member for many years – and is in fact our only honorary member. Our eldest member, he is often to be found on the side of the pool giving advice and at almost every party. He no longer swims himself though. In 2015 he took the initiative to set up the Mermates Travel Fund, which promotes active participation in international competitions.

2014 – Christian Bigom
has for many years been a very active trainer for countless members. He has spent many hours at the side of the pool and around a table (or in a bar) planning the club’s events and future. A talented organiser, he has since moved up to Pan Idræt’s main board, managing communications.

2013 – Gunnar Jonson
is particularly known as Mister Triathlon in Copenhagen Mermates. His commitment has led to Triathlon being the latest activity in the club, with open water as part of that. He tirelessly jumps into cold water and takes on other challenges on two legs or two wheels. He has also been a regular trainer for swimming and has organised several training trips to warmer climes.

2012 – Thomas Tronier
har været med i Copenhagen Mermates i en lang årrække og med sit organisatoriske talent har han både stået for arrangement af rejser og billetter og organiseret baren til julefrokoster med store overskud til følge. Thomas er en arbejdshest – og til trods for, at hans arbejdsplads er hele verden, så er hans hjerte dog hos Copenhagen Mermates – og senest er han blevet en aktiv vandpolospiller – både i vandet og på land. Også her er holdånden helt i top.

2011 – Claus Kirchoff
har i mange år været uundværlig som den tekniske bistand til lyd og lys. Claus stiller altid op uden bekymring og ingen teknisk udfordring er for stor. Han har sine egne ledninger med – og så med sit rolige og målrettede væsen klapper det hele. Og så har han en god musiksmag.

2010 – Belinda Nørbygaard og Peter Johansen
tog deres store tørn i 2009 med organisering af World Outgames II, i øvrigt sammen med Lars. Deres rolige væsener og strukturerede arbejdsdisciplin gjorde det til en fornøjelse for triumviratet at organisere og afvikle World Outgames II. Belinda blev senere til formand og Peter træner regelmæssigt om onsdagen og fredagen.

2009 – Morten Olafsson
var pioner for vandpolo og hellighede sig vandpolobold, da der blev luftet tanker om at oprette vadnpolo i Copenhagen Mermates. Morten organiserede de første par år og holdt de i begyndelsen ganske få deltagere til ilden og vandet. Vandpolo er blevet et stærkt tilbud i Copenhagen Mermates takket være de indledende indsatser.

2008 – Torben Rath Hansen
har i en lang årrække deltaget som svømmer, organisator, kagesponsor, vært for Melodi Grand Prix og som formand. Torben introducerede ”to-do-listen” og holdt styr på svømmeklubben i flere år. Og Torben er jo godt skåret for tungebåndet og en frisk bemærkning, nu senest også på Facebook. Humor er Torbens stærke side – og altid gerne med et blink i øjet. Det kræver hjernevindinger at følge med.

2007 – Niels Bech-Thomsen
er det tætteste, vi er kommet på en sponsor og mæcen – og som sådan trådte han til inden svømmestævnet i 2007. Niels blev begejstret for ideerne til svømmestævnet og sponserede et større beløb, som reddede svømmeklubbens økonomi. Vi havde regnet med 300 deltagere, men der kom blot 100 svømmere.

2006 – René Matthies
har været en central skikkelse både som frivillig til svømmestævner og som vært til en række Tisvildelejefester. René lagde hus til de herlige fester i adskillige i en hel weekend med både god mad, svømmeture i det salte hav; om det så var sol eller regn.

2005 – Lars Vestergaard
indstiftede Copenhagen Mermates pokalen i 2000 og har deltaget i svømmeklubben som træner, formand og svømmer siden 1997. Meningen med pokalen var jo ikke, at den skulle kunne gives til indercirklen af de organiserende, men snarere at det skulle være en anerkendelse af frivilligheden og offervilje for svømmeklubben. Men han blev snydt. Styregruppen indstillede ham i 2005 og navnet blev uigenkaldeligt graveret, lidt imod hans vilje – men glad; det blev han.

2004 – Peter Kristiansen
har været i svømmeklubben siden tidernes morgen og lagde i mange år hus til fællesspisninger på Rosenborg i portnerboligen, ofte krydret med en rundvisning på Rosenborg. Peter førte i Herrens mange år medlemslisten, som i begyndelsen kunne være på et ark papir med fontstørrelse 14. Dette ændrede sig snart. Peter er den alvidende og altid parat med en spændende historie, som ikke blot er en historie.

2003 – Jørgen Green
tog en stor tørn med oprettelsen af vores hjemmeside – og administrationen af den. Også Jørgen var på dansegulvet en mester – specielt, når dansegulvet var i Paris, og han kunne gå ”Happy Walk” med de andre svømmere og gerne i formation.

2002 – Jacob Helsted og Henning Larsen
Så gik det pludselig stærkt i svømmeklubben og vi fik mange træningstimer hver uge – og med stor entusiasme trådte Henning og Jacob til og stod på kanten og indpiskede stilarter, så det føg. Begge var de flittige deltagere i svømmestævner i hele Europa. Henning blev senere træner i Bremen, og bor nu i Mexico. Henning var specielt kendt for sine underholdende mail-beskeder til svømmerne, som både var alvorlige og knaldhamrende morsomme… Og charmerende smilende Jacob kunne undervise, så der blev kappet flere sekunder af tiderne…

2001 – Lars Højfeldt
opfandt det sociale arrangement ”Dansetrussen”, som betyder en skøn fest med alle vore svømmevenner. Traditionen har vist sig stærk og der er festet og danset meget gennem årene. Lars var også aktiv i organisering af de første svømmestævner, og var cheftræner en række år udover at deltage i stævner i hele Europa.

2000 – Bjarne Stavnshøj
blev den første modtager med sin mangeårige indsats med at organisere svømmeklubben. Bjarne var i mange år den eneste, som styrede svømme-klubben både i forhandlinger med Svømmeregion Øst om vores svømmetid, kontakten til Skt. Annæ Gymnasium og opkrævning af kontingenter i Pan Idræt. Bjarne var også med til Gay Games i 1998 i Amsterdam med det erklærede mål at blive sidst – men det klarede han ikke. Han blev næstsidst.

Lane descriptions

At each session there are various different lanes allocate to different activities. Check with the trainer which lane is right for you.
Recreational lanes: on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays there are always lanes for recreational swimming – doing your own thing without a programme.You are welcome to ask the trainer for tips, but bear in mind that the programme lanes have priority for the trainer’s time. Remember that we have beginner and technique training on Tuesdays.

A–lane: This is where the club’s fastest swimmers are. Programmes include all four strokes and you need to be able to do them all to keep up.

Programme length: Approx. 3000 m

B–lane: the most popular, so there are often two B lanes. You need to be able to swim crawl, breaststroke and backstroke quite well and at a reasonable pace. Some butterfly is included from time to time,

Programme length: Approx. 2200-2500 m

C–lane: is for those swimmers who can swim breaststroke and crawl at shorter distances. The programme works primarily on these strokes and sometimes backstroke. You need to be able to swim a few lanes without a break.
Programmel length: Approx. 1500-1800 m

Beginner and technique training: This is where you should start if you can’t swim a whole length or if you want help with your technique.
REMEMBER

  • It is always the trainer who has the final word about who swims in which lane. There can be fewer lanes than usual, or more recreational lanes, all depending on who is in the water that day. The trainer may also ask you to move to another lane.
  • Check with the trainer which lane is which. It may be different from usual.
    If you have any doubts about which programme or day you should swim, then ask a trainer!

Head Coach
Jakob Edinger

Guidelines – Mermates Etiquette

The unwritten rules – now available in writing 🙂
We don’t have rules other than you have to pay your fees!

But we do have etiquette. If you have not swum with us before, please read the guidelines here.

You must shower naked before getting in the water
All pools have strict hygiene rules. It doesn’t matter if you had a shower at home in the morning or not. The chlorine level can only be kept low if everyone is really clean. Many swimmers from abroad find this rule rather strange at first, especially the naked bit, but you’ll get used to it and you’ll appreciate the low chlorine in the water.

In the sauna – no clothing but do sit on a towel
Swimwear is not allowed in the sauna as it gives off chlorine which is not good for you. Take a shower before the sauna and bring an extra towel to sit on (it will get wet, and be difficult to use to dry yourself afterwards). And remember that what you do in your own bathroom may not be a pretty sight for other people in the sauna.

Wait for the trainer before getting in the water
Our trainers are also our lifeguards, and clubs have to provide their own lifeguard. So no lifeguard = no swimming. This is a very strict rule and if we don’t respect it then we could lose access to the pools.

If you are interested in taking a three hour lifeguard course then talk to one of the trainers. Then you can help out if a trainer is delayed or ill by acting as lifeguard. The club pays for the course.

Help set up the pool
If you are one of the first at the poolside, give a hand by putting out the flags and the lane ropes (but remember, don’t get in the water before the trainer is present). It’s also a great help if you are one of the last swimmers if you can help tidy up again so the trainer doesn’t have to do it all by himself. Put the pool buoys and floats back and make sure nothing has been left behind.

Wear a swimming cap if you have long hair
And remove jewellery and avoid having long nails. If you’re a waterpolo player this is a must – think about piercings too. There can be some nasty injuries.

Say hi to the trainer before you get in the water
This helps him to know who’s there for safety reasons. It’s also a good idea to check with the trainer which lane is which, as they are not always the same each time.

In a programme lane you must swim the programme
If not, use another lane or ask the trainer. Of course if there is capacity, the trainer will allow you to stay in a programme lane if the other swimmers will not be affected, just as it’s OK to skip the butterfly part of the programme, for example.

Keep right
Always consider the other swimmers – swim to the right of your lane close to the lane rope of the side of the pool.

Stay out of the way if you need a break
Don’t get in the way of the other swimmers in your lane. Make room for them to turn by keeping to the side of the lane of you are at the wall, or get completely out of the water if you need a longer break.

Think of others

    • agree intentions with the other swimmers in your lane
    • when you turn, check that no one is waiting to start. Maybe they are just giving another swimming a good head start, so don’t jump the queue!
    • when you start a lane, don’t start immediately in front of a faster swimmer.
    • if you want to overtake a slower swimmer, touch their toes a few times
    • if someone touches your toes, this means they want to pass, so let them overtake you by waiting when you get to the wall.
    • avoid overtaking in the middle of a lane – make sure there is no one coming towards you who will be inconvenienced.
    • if there is too great a difference in speed of the swimmers in your lane, discreetly ask the trainer if it possible to reallocate people to different lanes
    • don’t stop halfway to adjust your goggles, cap etc. If you can’t swim a whole length without stopping then please come on Tuesdays to beginner and technique training until you’re good enough to keep up with the flow.
    • respect other people’s equipment such as pool buoys, floats, fins etc. Some of them belong to the pool, but some people have their own. Most people are happy to lend them to other swimmers but please ask first.

If you are doubt about anything, please ask the trainer.
HAPPY SWIMMING!

Price

The membership fee for swimming is 300 DKK per half year. Payment is done in january and september.

In addition to the sports fee there is a club membership fee which is 340 DKK annually.

Steering committee for swimming

Jakob Edinger

Jakob Edinger

Chairman

Jan Winther

Jan Winther

Economy

Morten Henrik Petersen

Morten Henrik Petersen

Head Coach

Contact

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