Over time backyard swimming has evolved from full sized swimming pools built for large plots of land to smaller and smaller tanks. Single lane lap pools were the first attempt at reducing the footprint created by the backyard swimming pool. Their long and narrow tanks allow one to swim laps, but still require a significant stretch of land for installation. Swim spas were a response to more populous urban areas with even smaller plots of land. Often measuring less than 10 by 20 feet, the swim spa allowed those with even the smallest of backyards to continue to swim at home. But how does a swim spa compare to lap swimming? Does it provide the same swimming experience as the lap pool, full sized swimming pool, lake or ocean? In this article we’ll investigate.
Use of Space
As mentioned above, swimming pools have been wedged into smaller and smaller spaces as cities and populations grew. This has led to design innovations meant to allow backyard swimming to occur even as our access to open spaces has diminished. To properly swim laps in a swimming or lap pool, you’d ideally have a minimum of 40 feet to allow you to get in enough strokes to reach top speed before you’d have to turn around and go back the other way. Swim spas have eliminated the need for these relatively vast stretches of land. If you have any backyard space at all, you likely have room for a swim spa.
The Swimming Sensation
Because swim spas rely on the creation of a powerful water current to swim against, it’s definitely a different sensation than swimming through still water. It’s more akin to swimming upstream in a river than it is swimming in a lake. Because of this, there is somewhat of a learning curve when first using a swim spa. The swimmer needs to remain centred in the current to get the best experience. Swim spas that produce a wider and deeper current are often easier to use than those with a narrow swimming channel. Turbulence can also affect the swimming experience even though there have been many design changes throughout the years meant to reduce this. For many, the sensation of swimming in a swim spa can be compared to swimming in the ocean or a windy lake.
Year Round Swimming
Because swim spa tanks hold a relatively little amount of water, it’s possible to keep that water heated even in the middle of winter. This opens up several seasons of swimming – especially for those of us who live in areas that experience seasonal cold weather. Swimming pools and lap pools are simply too large to be able to be kept from freezing up in subzero weather. If you’ve avoided investing in a swimming pool because you don’t think your summers are long enough to make it worthwhile, a swim spa can allow you to swim all year round.
A Variety of Uses
Swimming pools are pretty versatile. You can swim laps, you can play games, you can frolic in the water or you can simply relax on an air mattress. Swim spas can allow you to do all those things as well as receive the hydrotherapeutic benefits normally limited to a hot tub. Most swim spas have seating areas complete with massaging water jets that allow you to soak and relax. Some swim spas have a separate tank for the seating area that allows you to maintain a dual temperature environment. One tank acts as a hot tub while the other tank is for swimming.
Like any product, swimming pools, lap pools and swim spas offer a range of prices to choose from. But if you compare swim spas with swimming or lap pools that are in a similar price range, you’ll find the swim spa is the far more affordable option. This correlation continues when you compare installation and operational and costs. The swim spa remains the most economical of the bunch. If budget is a concern, you’d do well by considering a swim spa.
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