Swim Tether Stationary Swimming Belt

Turn a Small Swimming Pool Into a Swim Workout Pool

Swim Tether
Swim Tether. Amazon

Compare Prices

If you want to do a swim workout, but your swimming pool is small, what do you do? One solution is something like the Endless Pool, like a swimming treadmill, but that can be out of reach for some budgets. A more affordable option for many swimmers is a swimming tether. A swim tether secures you in one location in the pool so you can swim and swim and swim! You won't get anywhere, except fit.

Other than practicing turns and starts, you can do just about any workout you could do in a regular lap pool using a swim tether. You could add multiple tethers and share the fun with other swimmers at the same time.

The Swim Tether brand device comes in two sizes - original and mini. The original works better for swimming, the mini works better for water aerobic exercise, like water running.


The three-section pole was easy to assemble, going from about a 2-foot length unassembled to about 6-feet long when assembled. Each section sits in a socket on the pole below it. The poles are made of heavy duty fiber material, and the metal socket is made of aluminum.

The base of the Swim Tether pole drops into a deck plate. This deck plate does require installation, which means either some drilling, some digging and pouring of cement, or finding another way to securely attach the pole's base to the pool deck.

Multiple options are shown, along with installation instructions, on the Swim Tether website.

The pole is assembled and place in the base plate. What next? Put on the belt. The Swim Tether belt is a good design, with neoprene sleeves that pad the nylon web belt. You adjust the belt so that it is slightly loose around your lower waist or upper hips, attach the belt clip to the swim cord, then clip the other end of the cord to the upper end of the Swim Tether's pole.

Get in the pool swim your in-place workout, and then hop out and disassemble the Swim Tether. Belt off, un-clip the cord, take the pole out of the mounting plate and pull the sections apart. Hang the belt up to dry and you are done! The poles take up a little over two feet when disassembled.

How It Felt

Several swimmers used the Swim Tether for short, simulated workouts. First impression? It feels odd. Not the Tether's fault, though. Swimming in place just feels different from swimming un-tethered.

Second impression? Comfortable. The belt did not dig into the swimmer's waist the way some unpadded tether belts do. The use of a pole to mount the top of the cord allowed the swimmers to use their pull and kick without getting tangled in the cord.

It was easy to rotate from face down freestyle, butterfly, and breaststroke to face up backstroke swimming, the belt does not have to be cinched tight to properly support a swimmer. This means that rotating yourself from face down to face up is fairly easy.

The tall pole means that the swimmer is held in place from above and behind, not directly from behind. This may have helped the swimmer keep a better body position while swimming, and it definitely kept a high hip position in fly and breaststroke (depending upon your swimming technique, that might be a good thing, or it might be a bad thing).

The other feeling of note is a common by-product of tethered swimming. When you apply force to the water that moves you forward, you move slightly forward. When that force weakens, you move backward. If your stroke technique has bursts of force mixed with times of no force, you move forward and backward in the water. Kind of a little shuffle back and forth. This can be disconcerting until you are used to it. This may also be useful in teaching yourself how to apply steadier force through the entire stroke. While it may feel odd, it may help you the longer you use the Swim Tether.

The Swim Tether Mini and The Swim Tether Without the Pole

The Swim Tether Mini is just the lower 1/3 of the three section full-size original Swim Tether. The Mini uses a more elastic cord since the shorter pole has very little flex.

It is intended less for swimming and more for something like water running or water aerobics pool workout. Using the Mini may let you do a more expansive workout as it provides resistance in a single linear direction along with the water's resistance in multiple directions.

The Swim Tether Mini uses the same comfortable belt as the original Swim Tether. The Mini also requires the same kind of mounting plate. The Mini worked fine, just no real flex. The cord it uses is more elastic, and that gives the Mini a somewhat similar feel to its bigger sibling, but for a swim workout, it was not as good as the original size Swim Tether.

Use The Swim Tether Without the Pole?

The cord and belt that come with the Swim Tether and Swim Tether Mini are not for use with only the pole. They could be attached to a secure ladder or lane line eye bolt and used for swimming or water exercise, too, although with the lower mounting position, the cord could interfere with a swimmer's kick.

The Bottom Line

The Swim Tether brand of tethered swimming devices is solid, comfortable, and portable. If tethered swimming is the option you pick for your swim workouts, it is a good choice. It has a comfortable belt, is easy to assemble once the mounting plate is installed, and it looks like it will be durable (the website states it has a lifetime warranty).

The downside? Tethered swimming does not feel quite the same as regular lap swimming. There is always a little back and forth as you swim against the pole, and then it pulls you back (this might be a good thing, shows you weak points in your stroke). The clips provided are not very robust - I would expect them and/or the cord to wear out if the tether is used a lot, or it is left out in adverse weather (the flip side is these parts are easy to replace from locally available materials).

I think the Swim Tether is as good as any other tethered swim device I have seen. Its price may move it ahead of some other pole-based models.

How could you adapt traditional swim workouts to a tethered workout? Two easy ways are to either:

  • Base the workout on stroke count - say 20 strokes = swimming a 50 for example.
  • Base the workout on time - say 45-seconds = swimming a 50 (might need to sue a waterproof watch to check the time!).

Compare Prices

Disclosure: Review samples were provided by the manufacturer. For more information, please see our Ethics Policy.