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After winning six more medals (four gold and two silver) in the 2012 London Olympics, Michael Phelps has a total of 22 medals (18 gold, two silver, and two bronze), making him the most decorated Olympian of all time!
The historic moment occurred on Tuesday, July 31, 2012 when he won his 19th medal, surpassing Soviet gymnast Larisa Latynina for the title of most decorated. Phelps won the gold medal--along with teammates Ryan Lochte, Conor Dwyer, and Ricky Berens--in the men's 4x200m freestyle relay less than an hour after placing second and winning silver in the 200m butterfly. No doubt this event will be remembered as one of the most celebrated moments of the 2012 London Olympics.
Phelps may be enjoying retirement now, at the age of 27, but how did he train for his final Olympic Games? Part of his training involved swimming against a current in a swim-in-place pool, also known as a swim spa.
Back in October, Master Spas’ CEO Bob Lauter, along with a group of Master Spas dealers, visited the Meadowbrook Aquatics Center in Baltimore, Md. There, they had a chance to observe Phelps training in the swim spa and understand its many benefits.
“[The underwater camera] is great for teaching because all the important stuff happens underwater—not on top,” said Bowman in footage from the event posted on Master Spas’ YouTube channel. “You can stay in one spot and see how the swimmer’s body reacts to different speeds without having to move around.”
Phelps also finds the underwater camera to be a major advantage: “I can look at stroke technique, how I’m catching the water, if my hips are late or if they’re early. I’m a visual learner so if I’m able to see what I’m doing wrong, I’m able to pick up on it and move on and make those small little corrections.” Both Phelps and Bowman can watch the recording at a slower speed to focus on Phelps’ movements and see how everything is connected.
The adjustable current is another key component for training. “We’ll start out at a relatively slow speed so [the
swimmers] can have very good technique and don’t have to be stressed by the effort that they’re going to have to put in to keep up with the spa,” said Bowman. “And then I’ll gradually increase the speed as they go so they get more of a training effect.”
The Signature model used by Phelps features a wide range of speeds to accommodate swimmers at any fitness level; plus, users can do much more than swim laps in the swim spa. “You can do drills, kicking, pulling, and anything else we’d do in the regular pool right in the swim spa,” Bowman explained.
You Can Swim in a Michael Phelps Swim Spa Too!
One of Phelps’ major goals—aside from racking up medals—has been to promote the sport of swimming. Since access to a community pool might be limited or nonexistent for some people, Phelps believes a swim spa is an ideal solution. Not only does it provide the owner and his family with personal access to swimmable water, it also allows users to improve their abilities and adjust the speed as they work up to higher levels.
“Michael wants to bring more people into the sport,” says Lauter. “This is why swim spas appeal to him. A number of public pools are closing, making it harder for people to have access to water. This is the perfect alternative to a pool.”
The Michael Phelps Signature Swim Spas by Master Spas feature five residential models, retailing for $29,995 to $44,500, based on size and features. The smallest model, the MP Impact, features three molded hot tub seats with a total of 51 jets. The largest model is the MP Momentum, which includes a five-person hot tub that is sectioned off from the swim area by a clear divider. The model with the largest swim area is the MP Signature model, which is used by Phelps at Meadowbrook.
In addition to developing a swim spa that can be used by competitive swimmers, it was important for the Signature Series to suit a wide range of fitness levels, including moderate exercisers and those who are just getting into swimming.
For one Master Spas customer, Miles McDonough of Bedford, Mass., swimming is an important way to stay in shape, namely because it’s a low-impact activity. “I’m a big skier and snowboarder, but I have bad knees so I can’t run,” he says. McDonough loves the advantage of having his own private swim spa right outside his back door. “I used to go to a public pool, but my eyes would get irritated because I had to wear my contacts. By swimming in place against a current at home, I don’t need to wear my contacts or worry about running into people.”
McDonough keeps his swim spa running all year and uses it almost every day. “I’ll get in, soak for a bit, stretch for 20 – 30 minutes, then begin my swim. I also use the resistance bands to work out my arms,” he says. On the weekends, McDonough relaxes by taking full advantage of the therapy seats. In the winter, he’ll set it to 92 degrees F; come summer, he’ll lower it to accommodate the warm weather.
Photos courtesy of Master Spas, Inc.
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