SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - Move over men, the mermaids are here.
The Santa Barbara Mermaids are the local women’s rugby team. Saturday they were at the beach looking to grow the sport.
Nancy Saltamachilo is in her first season as a rugby player. She said, “In the game it totally changes, adrenalin comes kicking in. You can take anyone down no matter the size difference.”
They kick, they sprint, and they tackle and they do it all without pads.
“They step out onto the field, and their inner beast mode just comes out and shines through," said Saltamachilo. "You see them sprinting down the field. And being able to run along side of them and also have them coach you is really awesome experience.”
The Santa Barbara Mermaids are looking for new players. Saltamachilo grew up playing five different sports but is new to rugby.
“It’s different than anything I’ve played," said Saltamachilo. "It’s pretty much all aspects of a sport combined into one. And being able to play full contact, as a women, as also really cool.”
This is the first season in the Mermaids five-year history they have enough girls for subs. And for second year mermaid Christine Kler she said playing with these girls is a blast.
“It is amazing!" said Kler. "I have two players I consistently play next to in our positions. And it is just so fun when one of us goes, the other two are always following. So when you get that ball and you’re running towards the try line, you just know they’re there and it’s a feeling like no other. It’s pretty great."
Mermaid player and coach Courtney Applewhite says their team is more than just practice and games.
“We hang out a lot during the week beyond rugby practice so, it’s physical, it’s fun, we’re competitive, we love to play, it’s something you don’t get to do all the time. But it’s also a family and a community, so if anyone is out there looking for a good group of women to hangout with, please come message us,” said Applewhite.
If you would like to join the Mermaids, or catch one of their games, head to their Facebook page.