The Bottom Line
I found the BowSwim to be a great option for someone that does not have access to a traditional lap swim pool. It is also a good tool for a coach to use to keep a swimmer in one spot while giving them stroke technique feedback.
- Wide, padded waist belt is comfortable.
- Sturdy construction, system should last.
- Entire system fits into an 8" x 4" x 24" heavy-duty padded carrying case.
- Lifetime warranty on the flexible telescoping pole, 1-year on everything else.
- May require installation.
- Tethered swimming not exactly the same as lap swimming.
- There are less costly options for tethered swimming - more stars if it was less expensive.
- Swimming tether holds swimmer in place while swimming or doing exercises, allowing "lap" swimming in non-lap-type pools.
- Telescoping, flexible, deck-mounted pole, 72" when extended (about 22" when collapsed for storage).
- Adjustable swim tether from top of extended flexible pole to a padded, Velcro-secured waist belt.
- Sturdy carrying case for storing the swim tether or for carrying it to and from the swimming pool.
Guide Review - BowSwim Resistance Swimming Tether
What did I find when I unzipped the bag?
- A flexible, telescoping pole that felt like it was well put together.
- A swimming pool deck plate that needs to be installed if it is going to be used (I did not use it, I used an existing ladder hole in the swimming pool deck).
- A braided nylon rope swim tether with a wooden length adjuster.
- A wide, padded belt that secures with Velcro and attaches to the tether with a metal swivel-clip.
- Installation instructions and the warranty.
I took the bag to the pool, extended the pole, stuck it in an existing hole in the pool deck, put on the belt, attached the clip, and started swimming. NOTE: the hole was too large for the telescoping pole to fit firmly, but I was not going to drill a hole in the pool deck since the pool does not belong to me! The BowSwim still worked, and for those that don't want to drill a hole there is an optional ladder mounting attachment, but I have not seen that part of the product.
I stopped swimming, adjusted the length of the belt, and got back to swimming again! It did not feel too different from other tethered swimming systems I have tried except for the direction of resistance. Since I was attached to a point well above the pool deck, the tether did not interfere with my kick and did not pull me out of my horizontal body position - I liked that feature of the BowSwim very much. When you are tethered from your waist to the side of the pool at water level or below, your body position can get a little funky, and depending upon the way the tether is attached between the swimmer and the wall, the tether can get in the way of your kick.
I swam at an easy effort, I swam at a harder effort. I swam a variety of strokes, even backstroke (which I do not enjoy - nothing against backstrokers). I swam some short efforts, I swam some longer efforts. It all felt fine, I was able to do everything more or less the same as I would be able to do it in a normal workout, just not turns to do.
I let others try it and got the same kind of comments that I thought when I used it. The BowSwim felt fine, a little out-of-the-norm, but more like something that had to be gotten used to, not something that was wrong.
I am a numbers guy, so I needed to figure out how I could record "yardage" with the BowSwim. I cam up with two ways:
- Equate my effort with pace and time and make a calculation. If I did a 1-minute swim at an easy effort I did 50-meters, even though on the BowSwim I covered 0-meters.
- Count strokes and calculate how "far" I went based on how may strokes I took. I take about 20 strokes for 25-meters, so If I take 40 strokes while using the BowSwim, I have swum 50-meters.
What next? I took the pole out of the hole, wiped everything off, put it all back in the carry case, workout done. I took it all home, took the belt out and hung it up to dry (it was dry in a few hours). That was that, all done.