ShareThis Page

Swim-in-place pools start to gain traction

| Saturday, May 11, 2013, 9:00 p.m.
An Endless Pool installed indoors in a workout room
Endless Pool
An Endless Pool installed indoors in a workout room
Endless Pool Dual Temperature Swim Spa, that offers a separate hot tub, in addition to the swimming and exercise area
Endless Pool
Endless Pool Dual Temperature Swim Spa, that offers a separate hot tub, in addition to the swimming and exercise area

Spa-like relaxation is giving the site of a long swim more of a place at home.

Tom Esser from Alpine Pools in Hampton says therapeutic aspects of some current swim-in-place pools are providing the kind of social benefits that make the backyard pool a gathering place for family and friends.

“Exercise is important for everyone, but some of the spa features are really making the idea seem reasonable,” he says, talking about the attraction of sitting in warm water with a friend and a refreshment.

Swim-in-place pools are a form of watery treadmill in which a swimmer can swim hundreds of yards — while not going anywhere. But the pools in the past lacked a jet-fed area for relaxation or even therapy.

Albert Eiler, who owns two fitness organizations in Allison Park, says therapeutic and social aspects were an important part of his decision to buy a swim-in-place pool for his West Deer home.

If they hadn't been there?

“We would have thought about it a lot more,” he says.

Not only are both aspects offered in the pool he bought, but it also will offer a place for the two Eiler daughters to play, he says.

Eiler owns Stick to It Fitness, a gym and fitness firm in Allison Park, and Change Rx, which puts together health and well-being programs for companies across the nation.

He says he is aware of the stress that running and other sports can put on joints and sees great benefits in swimming. He believes the pool will give him the ability to do a 35- to 40-minute workout at home and that the jets will provide a bit of therapy afterward.

He had a hot tub in a former home, but this is his first swim-in place pool.

Justin Rushin of Cheswick Pools says the spa features have made interest in the exercise pools “still small, but it is way better than when it was practically nothing 10 years ago.”

Rob Shaeffer, marketing assistant for Endless Pools in Delaware County, says the company has changed its design strategy to appeal to a market seeking more than one reason to buy one of the workout machines.

“Up to a few years ago, we were dealing mostly with people who just wanted a good workout,” he says. “Now, we can provide other options.”

Besides seating areas served by jets that provide a spa or hot-tub experience, some Endless Pools products also offer a treadmill floor that allows running without the jarring from concrete or blacktop.

Price estimates range according to those options and size. Shaeffer says Endless Pools can be bought for $7,500 to $28,900. In terms of the whole job, Esser suggests looking in the $15,000 to $35,000 range while Rushin says the project could go up to $100,000.

Some costs can be downright attractive, Esser says.

“You are heating 1,000 gallons of water instead of 20,000,” he says.

Exercise pools still have not taken off. Although most people realize the need for exercise, Esser says he sells only eight to 15 annually as opposed to installing and building 120 in-ground pools and 600 above-ground ones.

Bruce Ankeny II, manager of King Cole Pools in North Huntingdon, says the business doesn't handle exercise pools at all because “they just never took off.”

Esser, though, says the practicality of an exercise pool is hard to argue. In a space of about 14 to 19 feet, such a pool will allow swimming or other forms of exercise on a daily basis. Esser and Rushin say outside-mounted pools can be used nine moths of the year, perhaps longer.

“I don't recommend using them in bitter cold,” Rushin says.

But Esser says he uses his hot tub well into the winter. After an exercise, a body is heated so thoroughly that the trip back into the house is easy.

Endless Pools' Shaeffer says the firm offers four sizes, with the largest, at 19 feet, having four seating areas that can be used while someone else swims. Even the smallest pool, a 10-footer, can seat two.

“Our main demographic is those looking for the convenience of home fitness. Endless Pools are popular among baby boomers who can no longer run or exercise outside, but who still desire to keep in shape.”

But the hot tub aspect adds another dimension.

“We got the feeling people wanted a place to relax and hang out as much as exercise,” he says.

Bob Karlovits is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at or 412-320-7852.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.