When Jacuzzi acquired Hydropool in 2017, the company quietly released a new line of swim spas called SwimLife.
“We launched it kind of covertly, if you will,” says Doug Gillespie, vice president of marketing at Hydropool. “We have slowly, quietly crept into the top eight swim spas in the world with this brand.”
Gillespie says the goal of SwimLife was to appeal to the everyday person. “We’ve proved it over the last two years, not only with SwimLife, but with the Hydropool brand, that the medium-level swim spa is now overtaking the high-end swim spa in pure quantities of swim spas being sold,” Gillespie says. “As a brand, the unique selling proposition was obviously the technology to swim, but also water being a part of everyone’s life. The idea is very simple, that swim spas are not necessarily solely for swimming.”
When an August 2018 fire at the Jacuzzi factory in Tijuana destroyed Dimension One Spas’ AquaFit swim spa molds, SwimLife was a quick replacement for D1 dealers in need of units. John Trzcinka, a longtime D1 swim spa dealer and president of Dimension One Spas of San Diego, says the loss was tough, but his company was fortunate to be in a position where SwimLife was available.
“Getting involved with [Hydropool and SwimLife] allowed me to have some input on product development,” Trzcinka says. “There were some really cool things SwimLife was doing. They flew me to Canada where I was able to evaluate the product, give some feedback and they actually hired me as a consultant. I was very honored.”
Trzcinka says he feels a kindred spirit with the Hydropool/SwimLife team. “They’re like me — they have the same passion for the product that I do,” Trzcinka says. “When you’re talking to people, you’re coming up with ideas and you’re seeing everyone light up and as passionate as I am; it just makes it fun to work with people like that. That’s what the folks at Hydropool offer.”
SwimLife has three levels of models: The entry-level SwimFun; the mid-range, SwimFit; and the high-end, SwimExpert. Different sizes are available in each series.
“[SwimExpert] provides a fantastic, unique swim system that provides the top-end athlete, the top-end swimmer a great swim,” Gillespie says. “[SwimFit] provides the medium everyday athlete the opportunity to swim at a very good price and good technology. Now, we’re just launching our first version of what we’re calling a SwimFun. We’ve got the good, better, best scenario.”
Gillespie says the key for dealers is to have two working models on the showroom floor, the high-end and mid-range. “If you can demo both of them, generally speaking, the everyday athlete will move toward the SwimFit,” Gillespie says. “That middle of the line swim spa can provide everything, it just doesn’t provide a triathlete level swim.”
Trzcinka has two on his floor, and it’s paying off. “Year to date, we’re at almost three times as many sales with this product as we were with Dimension One,” Trzcinka says. “The value for the money, it’s just there.”
SwimLife isn’t a new name on the existing Hydropool product, the company developed completely new molds and implemented new technology with some of the key differences being the swim technology, sanitation/filtration technology and entry-point.
“In the SwimLife, we’re entering from the side,” Gillespie says, pointing out that this entry point allows you to have cover lifters on both sides that don’t block the entrance.
The SwimExpert models come with two patented AquaCurrent jets, and Trzcinka says he has been impressed. “The SwimLife swim is infinitely better than the D1 product line,” Trzcinka says.
Gillespie says the improved swim is due to the AquaBlades. “It produces an extremely predictable, non-turbulent, high-volume of water,” Gillespie says. “It’s so nice to swim against. It’s controlled at the swimmer level, so at the touch of a button, what we call a WaveRider control, you can dial it in from zero to 10 miles per hour. While you’re swimming, you can see your progress — it will count down, and show your time and distance right beside you.”
SwimLife also features a built-in ClearBlue mineral-based sanitation system. That — in conjunction with dual skimmers, dual strainer racks and two 50-square-foot filters — helps keep the water clear and ready for use.
“To me, it is all about the swim and it is all about the quality of the water,” Trzcinka says. “I was a former swim spa owner; I know what it’s like to take care of and I know what it’s like to enjoy. Those are two of the most important parts of a [swim] spa.”
The SwimLife brand helps expand the overall swim spa reach for Hydropool because it can now offer a product in markets with an existing Hydropool dealer, like Trzcinka in San Diego. But Gillespie sees an even bigger opportunity.
“Do you know what I want? I want 10% of the pool share,” Gillespie says. “If I can get 10% of the swimming pool market, that’s a lot of swim spas. That’s where people are missing the point on this, they’re all fighting for deals [on swim spas]. I’m fighting for deals on swimming pools.”
Trzcinka is capitalizing on this trend in his market. “[A swim spa] is a good [pool] alternative for people in the San Diego market,” he says. “The economy is still incredibly strong with the household value well over $500,000 now. With interest rates at historic lows, there are still people who are taking the equity out of their homes and putting it in their backyards. But the swimming pool companies are so fat and happy right now that they don’t have the time to deal with anyone who’s not going to spend $80,000 to $100,000 for a pool. And [some customers] just don’t have the desire to do that.”
Trzcinka says the swim spa industry has always had advantages that help it corner the swimming pool market. “If we can go in for 40% of the cost of a pool,” he says “and with our locking insulated covers you don’t have to have fences built around our units. You don’t have to have alarms on doors as you do when a swimming pool is built, plus our monthly cost of ownership is much lower. People who do need them for medical reasons can deduct them off their taxes if they have a prescription from their doctor and once their medical deductible is met, which you can’t do with a pool.”
Despite Trzcinka having the D1 brand “in my blood,” he’s all-in on SwimLife. “Because of various reasons, the Dimension One product line was not really growing,” Trzcinka says. “Things that we felt were important we were starting to fall behind on. But one of the things I love about SwimLife is they will never be at the back of the line as far as innovation. And from the standpoint of a dealer who really cares, it excites me about the future. What cool things we have now, what new things are coming around the corner, they’ll for sure be at the forefront.”