Can you really swim in a swim spa?

20 August, 2021

The simple answer is yes, you can swim in a swim spa with any level of capability.

Swim spas are designed with powerful swim jets that create a constant water resistance moving in one direction. This flow of water pushes against your body as you swim, holding you in a fixed position much like doing laps in a swimming pool or lap pool. The larger rectangular pool area allows enough space for leg kicking and arm movement needed for freestyle, butterfly and even breaststroke.

However, you need to match your capabilities & how you expect to use your swim spa with the power of the swim jets. The swim jet power comes from the number of pumps installed in the swim spa.



Swim spas with four swim jets generally provide enough resistance for even a competitive swimmer to train at a constant freestyle stroke, so you need to check how many pumps are installed in the swim spa to push the volume of water that is required for swimming. The most powerful water flow will be achieved by plumbing one single pump to each of the swim jets; so 4 powerful pumps dedicated just to the 4 swim jets. 

Sapphire swim spas have been designed to accommodate all fitness levels by adjusting the number of swim jets that are running as you swim. You can lower the speed for a long endurance swim, or turn them right up for a speed session.

With all four pumps on, you’ll get a strong jet stream from your 4X swim jets, allowing even a competent swimmer to swim steadily without outrunning the flow or touching the end of the swim spa.

You also have the ability to change the pressure of these 4X swim jets by adjusting the amount of air that’s mixed with the water pressure to achieve a smoother, less turbulent swim.

Even with 3 pumps & 3X swim jets switched on, most swimmers will be able to swim a steady freestyle stroke or stronger breaststroke. 

With only 2 of the pumps & swim jets turned on, the jet stream allows for a strong breaststroke. Each swim jet is still adjustable by turning the topside air control dials to add more or less air at any time to increase and decrease pressure.

Even with just one pump & swim jet running, you can exercise at a walking or jogging pace; much like wading through the water in the ocean. This is great for your cardio fitness and helps build abdominal strength through resistance.

The power can be adjusted to allow for any level of swim competency and also stretch or rehabilitation exercise




You will need to swim about 1m back from the swim jets so allowing for your body length with arms outstretched in a swimming position, you will need a spacious swim area longer than the length of your body, therefore at least 4m in length. As swim spas also offer massage seating, you'll want to make sure it has low steps & seating so they don’t restrict your kicking action, especially in a 4m swim spa.

Some manufacturers also offer swim spas in 5.0metre and 6.0metre lengths, so especially if you’re a taller person, consider these options. 

A larger swim spa is the perfect alternative to a backyard swimming pool so that larger swim areas will make room for kid to splash and play as well.



Some swim spas come with 4X swim jets but only have 2 or 3 pumps installed so the water pressure is shared amongst the swim jets. 

A swim spa powered by 3 pumps will still be powerful enough for most people’s swimming capabilities but, just consider the price difference to upgrade to a 4 pump system if you think you may achieve a level of fitness that warrants it in the near future because it’s not realistic to add a pump later.

If a swim spa comes with only 2 pumps, basically you will only get half the power out of the swim jets compared with a 4 pump swim spa. This may be enough for many people if they aren’t as strong at swimming or if they really just want the swim spa for resistance exercise, water pilates, stretching or yoga. These pools are also effective rehabilitation tools and can help maintain mobility in older years as you exercise supported by the buoyancy of the warm water.


As a rule of thumb, 1 & 2 pump plunge pools & swim spas are not designed for a swim workout unless you are supported by a swim tether. 1 & 2 pump swim spas are more suitable for hot or cold plunge swimming and kids splash and play. They are also effective rehabilitation tools and can help maintain mobility in older years as you exercise supported by the buoyancy of the warm water. These small pools can also be used for resistance exercise, water pilates, stretching or yoga.