Swim spas are marvelous machines, but they’re enormous, expensive and — to most people — unfamiliar. First impressions are everything; a test swim can mean the difference in your purchase decision.
A good swim test starts long before you ask where to change into their suit. The salesperson should ask you about your swimming level, physical limitations, fitness goals, usage plans and why you are shopping for a swim spa in the first place. You want a salesperson who is in-tune with the swim spas they sell, to give you confidence in their recommendations.
The purchase of a swim requires that the spa retailer have more than encyclopedic product knowledge. The person selling the swim spa will also be the one to guide you through the swim test, and guides can’t lead the way down paths they haven’t walked themselves. People who sell swim spas must know what it’s like to actually swim in one. If the seller is not a swimmer, and is attempting to sell you a swim spa, how will the salesperson instruct you on what the swim should feel like, what your expectations should be and how you should conduct movement in the swim spa? So that should be your first question of the sales rep: “Have you tried it, and can you demonstrate if needed?”
The Bells and Whistles
Only enter a swim spa that is presented at it’s best: clean, water chemistry on point and no missing valves or spa pillows. All the bells and whistles should be on display — water features, lights and audio — so that you can see all of the optional upgrades. If there is resistance bands, rowing kits or exercise equipment available, the spa dealer should have that up and running and know how it works.
There is no denying that a wet test of any kind is an intimate experience, requiring you to enter a an unfamiliar machine, in a partial state of undress while guided by a person you barely know. The experience may be even more unnerving if you are forced to test the swim spa in a showroom with curious customers buzzing about. Find a dealer who provides the option for a private swim test — before or after business hours for privacy.
Finally, the dealer should tailor the experience to your skill level.
“There is a difference between the needs of aquatic fitness and the true swimmer,” says Joe Stone of California-based Swim Fitness, which sells a full line of H2X swim spas, the Michael Phelps Signature line from Master Spas, as well as some refurbished models. “I help identify which direction is best for them, then align their needs with the best swim spa model.”
Before You Get in the Water
If you’re a repeat customer who has already experienced a swim spa, you will likely be more interested in features, current flow and other technical aspects. New customers, on the other hand, will be almost totally consumed with contemplating the strange new experience that awaits. A good salesperson’s bedside manner can make all the difference at this critical stage. The sales rep should not just turn it on, tell you to enjoy yourself and walk away.
Proper instruction starts before you even get in the water. The swim spa dealer should explain how the spa functions in the most realistic and lifelike manner possible: “Here is what the jets are going to feel like. This is what the current is going to feel like over your body.” Dealers should help the customer get comfortable with the flow of the current. Every manufacturer produces their current differently.
Get in, walk around and feel the current to get comfortable. Then as you are ready, start swimming on a slower speed. You can always increase speed as needed. The salesperson should offer assistance or supplementary equipment if you’re having a hard time adjusting to this new experience.
“Serious swimmers normally have no issues,” Stone says. “Recreational swimmers may have an issue with their eyes or nose in the water. We offer the use of a full-face snorkel along with swimmer’s goggles as options.”
More than anything, a good seller can be a reassuring presence, providing variations and speeds, hooking up equipment and showing you features. You should get the full rundown of the unit.
Dry Test Too
Hopefully the swim spa retailer you visit has both a wet and a dry model available. While you want to give the west test a try, you should also examine the dry unit thoroughly to fully understand what the swim spa is capable of.
A dry test gives you the chance to climb into the machine, poke around and see the manufacturing details, the quality and features up close without the distraction of water.
Everyone involved benefits from a first-class test swim that makes both seller and manufacturer shine while reassuring the buyer it will be money well spent. That means that a valuable spa dealer will show you in the showroom exactly what the swim spa is going to do when you get one home.