The dazzling potential of counter current units…
You can be forgiven for being dazzled by the sheer spectrum of product choice available when it comes to counter current systems for both residential and commercial pool markets. The one thing all distributors agree upon is the recognition of the recent stampede in demand – and they agree, there is even more potential growth both for new installations and as retro-fits. “Clients are now realising that you do not need to have a huge pool in order to get the best swimming experience,” says Adam Clark, Sales Director at Golden Coast. “With the introduction of a good quality counter-current unit customers can swim for hours on end in the comfort of their own home and without the hassle and disruption of visiting the local public pool.” Neil Muscat, Certikin’s Pools Division Sales Manager agrees: “With a counter current unit you can have a large pool swimming experience in a compact pool. “This means that everything can be downscaled, from the footprint, and inherent build cost, to heating and chemical costs, due to a smaller water volume. “There is also a lower time and labour commitment in maintaining the pool,” he points out. “Counter current systems are a particularly useful addition to smaller pools and can have the ability to turn a compact swimming pool into the equivalent of a lap pool,” he continues. “A retrofit counter current unit can give an existing pool a new lease of life, turning it into a usable and practical exercise or training facility,” adds Neil. There is a minimum pool size for counter-currents units to ensure the best experience for the client. However, a counter-current unit can immediately transform even a small pool of 6x3m and can enable the customer to get the most out of their pool. Proper customer qualification is imperative to ensure that the counter current system offered, matches or exceeds the customers’ requirements and expectations. Whether it is used for light resistance exercise or all the way up to swimming training.
Golden Coast’s Adam Clark emphasises: “With a smaller pool not only do you save on the pool build, but also on the running costs. “You can run a smaller pump filter and heater, and you won’t use as many chemicals. “Don’t underestimate your client’s swimming ability. As a distributor we hear many stories of customers swimming through the flow from their counter-current unit. Providing units that offer flows of 54m3 through to 450m3, Golden Coast offers one of the widest range of counter-current units on the market so are in an advantageous position to find the perfect match for pools, whatever the requirements.
Meanwhile, flexing their counter current muscle, PPG offer a whopping selection of ten counter current options to be sure of matching all specifications and requirements. “We have noticed a particular design trend towards stainless steel compact pools specified with in-built counter current options,” reports PPG’s Jimmy Lamb. “The nice thing about having so many counter current options in the PPG price list is that we do have a solution for all eventualities,” he adds. PPG options include the Badu®Jet Turbo is a premium counter swim unit that combines innovative technology with a sleek design. Also from PPG, the EVAstream swimming machine transforms any swimming pool into a professional training pool, home-fitness and unique water attraction. Look out too for the Essence FitStar® brand from Hugo Lahme that don’t just offer outstanding fitness equipment for elite swimmers and professional sportsmen but also offers a stimulating massage system for that feeling of wellness.
Lighthouse Pools has also seen an upturn in demand for counter current units. “I don’t think it is purely down to price,” believes John Whitehouse. “It is more the compact nature of the pool that has given the opportunity,” says John. “Until recently counter current systems have been very limited and the original style single nozzle type jet is not the easiest to swim against, unless you were only doing breaststroke. “You could not put this into a 5×2.5m pool and then train against it, nor could you train for a triathlon in a 20ftx10ft (6mx3m) pool. “The new high flow swim-jets offer a smooth wide block of water movement that is easier to stay on stream and allow a range of stokes to be exercised against. This give the flexibility to exercise for long periods of time at a pace that would leave 90% of the population burnt out after 10 minutes. John points out that not every customer is looking for performance levels of a tri-athlete or county swimmer.
FIT FOR PURPOSE
“I often hear people saying, well I can beat that jet,” cautions John. “It isn’t about how fast you can swim for 10 seconds, it’s about swimming at a constant pace to give you a training programme suitable for the exercise you want to achieve,” he points out and adds: “See it as a running machine that is pacing your swim distance. You don’t go on to the gym running machine and sprint 100m, you do a steady 20 minute jog, with a five minute warm up and warm down at each end.” The Heatform swim-jet, from Lighthouse, will allow you to do this with three programmable and adjustable swim settings on a fully variable speed motor. This offers a large range of options now available, that happily sit just under this spec but with considerable savings. The propeller driven units all push water at a similar speed and the jet spout is the important area to look at. This needs to be a good width around 400mm wide to allow the movement of water to cover the width of your body. These units give a smooth and clean jet to swim against, like the Heatform Jet. This matches that design and its low voltage motor allows a quality exercise jet from a 13amp fused spur. Offering the EasyStar as a retro- fit, the HydroStar – flush-mounted in HiLine or Standard versions, as well as commercial unit options, Ocea UK believe its exclusive distributorship of the German designed Hydrostar range put it in pole position. “The Hydrostar stands out from the crowd because of the optimal swim training experience it delivers,” says Georgina Tayman, part of the Ocea UK sales team. “The HydroStar turbine projects the flow of water around your body and keeps your feet elevated, it is a wonderfully comfortable swimming experience so that the swimmer can focus on their swimming technique.” The HydroStar manual follows a step-by-step guide for an easy installation. Easy to Retro-fit- You simply: mount the unit, bolt it in place, lay the cable, fit controls and start swimming. The HydroStar works on low voltage and connects to mains electricity making it suitable to fit into every home. It can be built flush into the wall of the pool so it does not take up any additional space. Says Georgina: “Although the system is powerful, its wide, efficient and consistent current allows it to produce no overflow.
Paramount has pinned its significant colours to the Ultra-Flow propulsion system mast; a self-contained propulsion swim unit that can be installed in concrete or liner pool construction. Delivering up to 1.7m per second, Ultraflow technology produces a 24V controlled, realistic river-like smooth current, with variable speed delivering up to 400 cubic metres of water per hour (normal 3hp swim jets produce 45cbm/phr). A robust GRP housing is supplied with universal fittings and an attractive stainless-steel grille enabling a flush fitting installation within the pool wall. Paramount’s Steve Martin advises: “Rather than looking at the top .001% of swimmers at Olympic qualifying level, we have compared the speeds of top adult competitive swimmers over a middle distance.”
SETTING THE PACE
Perfect for a small size pool where space is limited, Plastica sell the counter current Jet unit with a white LED light kit. The Jet can be used as a single or double jet system with one or two pumps. The water flow and bubble effect can be adjusted by rotating the valve and jet. The unit is made from a durable ABS structure, and is suitable for installation in concrete and liner pools. To complete the installation, you will need one pump, one front jet kit and a plumbing kit, all available from Plastica. The X-Stream Duo Counter Current unit, made with a stainless-steel niche and grab rail, is Plastica’s new through-the-wall unit. It’s easy to install, gives a neater finish and is more powerful than it’s over-the-wall alternative. The X-Stream duo, which comes with two of the Espa Wiper pumps and gives an impressive 100m cubed per hour output.
OVER THE WALL
Also new to Plastica’s Badu®Jet range this year is the over-the-wall Stella, which has two swivelling nozzles. This model comes¬ with White or RGB LED colour changing ambient lighting for night exercise or an atmospheric and relaxing swim. The Badu®Jet Perla or Riva units, including the Stella, can be used as a simple retro-fit in any swimming pool. Once primed, the Badu®Jet – Perla unit produces 40m cubed per hour with a continuously variable flow rate and a massage pressure of 0.9 bar. The Riva produces 54m3 per hour. The Stella offers an impressive flow rate of 75m3 per hour! All the above units also have air injection via a Venturi system which is adjustable. Controls can be operated from the front face of the units. With so much choice, the counter current sector appears to be a buyers’ market with huge opportunities to promote their many benefits to both residential and commercial customers.
Certikin International Ltd
Tel. 01993 777207
Tel. 01271 378100
Tel. 01752 253525
Tel. 01993 707910
Tel. 01256 748 380
Tel. 01424 857802
Pollet Pool Group
Tel. 01635 227 999