How to swim in a swim spa

By Jon Filson

Hydropool Hot Tubs and Swim Spas

Published May 15, 2024

Swimming laps is part of the grind for anyone swimming. Working your way down from one end to another in a gym pool, while dreaming of one in your own backyard, is part of many amateur and professional swimmer’s lifestyles. 

Is there another way? We get curious queries all the time from swimmers and athletes looking to try out a swim spa. How can you swim in that swim spa? How does it work? Who is it for? Can it replace a pool? 

Here are your answers! A swim spa can replace a pool for swimming, absolutely. And in this article we will explain how, with the following sections:

  • Can a swim spa replace a pool? 
  • How does a swim spa work? 
  • How does the swimming compare in a pool and a swim spa? 
  • Can a swim spa be used for more than swimming? 

Hopefully, by the end, you’ll have a solid idea of how to swim in a swim spa and how else you can use one! 



Can a swim spa replace a pool?

For training for swimming, the answer is yes. If you are looking to get a great workout and swim laps in your own backyard pool, you’ll probably start thinking about what size pool you need. For swimming laps, ideally, you would want a length of 60-75 feet with a lane width of about 6 feet. 

That’s a pretty unusual size for a backyard pool. But as a reference point, pools used for competitive swimming are typically between 80 and 165 feet. 

That’s going to cost you (our estimate is more than $100,000 in Toronto today, which is near where we are based).  A swim spa, in contrast, is comfortable for most people at 14 feet long and pricing is below $40,000 in 2024.  

You’re also able to swim and train in a swim spa, as you would in a pool. 

How does a swim spa work?

A swim spa looks similar to a hot tub, however, is essentially a hot tub, pool and aquatic fitness centre merged in one. They have a water propulsion system that creates a current that you can swim against. Similar to how you can run at different levels on a treadmill, the current can be adjusted to customize the difficulty level. By swimming in place, you can receive a superior workout without constantly having to stop when you reach the pool wall and turn around.

How does swimming in a swimming pool compare to swimming in a swim spa?

Swimming in a traditional pool typically involves a larger space and fixed water depth, while swim spas are smaller and offer adjustable swim currents. Swim spas provide the opportunity for continuous swimming in place, ideal for those looking to maximize their workout in a limited space.

Swim spas offer the convenience of year-round use, easy maintenance, and customizable swim currents to suit individual preferences. In contrast, swimming pools may require more space, time-consuming maintenance, and are limited to seasonal use in many regions.

To make the most of your swim spa experience:

  • adjust the swim current to your desired intensity
  • focus on maintaining proper form and breathing technique while swimming
  • incorporate a variety of swim strokes for a well-rounded workout 
  • experiment with different swim currents and settings to challenge yourself and keep your swim routine engaging
  • Try aquatic workouts as well as swimming

Swimming in a swim spa can provide a unique and enjoyable alternative to traditional pool swimming, offering convenience, versatility, and customizable features to enhance your swim experience. Whether you are looking to relax, exercise, or improve your swimming skills, a swim spa can offer a rewarding and satisfying option for your aquatic activities.

Swim spas are fantastic for those looking for a low-impact workout as swimming against the current can build strength, endurance and deliver a cardio workout. 

As a good swim spa’s current is adjustable, swim spas are suited for complete fitness beginners to advanced athletes. There are also a number of accessories such as resistance cords and rowing bars which can be used for strength training and toning options.

Can a swim spa be used for more than just swimming?

Other elements to consider when contemplating swimming in a swim spa include:

  • Year-Round Convenience

As swim spas are compact and the water is heated, they can be used year round, even if there is plenty of snow outside and freezing temperatures. This can make them a much better investment, compared to a small 30-foot lap pool as they can be used in every season and type of weather.

  • Versatility

An added benefit of owning a swim spa is that most also function as a hot tub as well. Many models feature a split design, where one end contains hydrotherapy seating and has targeted massage programs available as well as higher water temperature. With split designs, the swim chamber temperature can still be kept at a cooler temperature so people can relax and soak in one end while someone is working out in the other.

The versatility is particularly attractive for families with children. Swim spas are the perfect place to teach children how to swim and about water safety. As they get older, swim spas are a great way for them to have fun and remain active. The hydrotherapy seating and soothing, bubbling jets are a perfect place to spend some quality family time together.

  • Relaxation and Rehabilitation

In addition to being a pool and workout center, swim spas offer the best of both relaxation and rehabilitation. Whether your joints are tight, you have sore muscles or are recovering from a sports injury, the soothing jets can help. Or just simply soak to soothe minor aches and pains and relax after your workout.

You can swim in a swim spa

The idea of swimming laps in a traditional pool can sometimes feel like a tedious task for many swimmers and athletes. Having a swim spa in your own backyard, with its compact size and adjustable swim currents, offers a refreshing alternative to the traditional pool experience. 

By exploring the possibility of using a swim spa as a replacement for a pool, understanding how it works, comparing swimming experiences between a pool and a swim spa, and discovering the versatility of a swim spa for various water activities, swimmers and athletes can unlock a new realm of possibilities in their aquatic routines. 

Whether you are looking to dive into a new way of swimming or explore the diverse functionalities of a swim spa, this article aims to provide valuable insights and guidance to help you navigate the waters of swim spa experiences with confidence and enthusiasm. 

We hope this article answered your questions about swimming in a swim spa, but if we missed anything, don’t hesitate to reach out to us here

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