The Versatile Swim Workout

April 7, 2021

Michael Sabala

We chat with Chelsea Piers Fitness NYC Aquatics Director Michael Sabala (USA Swimming and US Masters Swimming Coach) to learn more about the versatility of swimming, plus three sample 30-minute workouts to try during your next swim session!

Growing up competing on various swim teams and eventually landing a spot on the Harvard team, Michael Sabala has been swimming for 34 years. “I never imagined that at this point in my life so many of my friends and my career, so much of my life and memories would be tied to the sport of swimming.”

Now the NYC Aquatics Director for Chelsea Piers Fitness, Michael Sabala has been working with Chelsea Piers for 7 years. We sat down with him to learn more about swimming, and how to add it to your fitness routine.

In addition to being an efficient and effective workout, swimming is also extremely versatile. “It can be all about cardio and getting your heart rate up, or you can focus on a single part of the body to work on building strength.” Your swim workout can be adapted to whatever you need in the moment. If you’re feeling a little sore from a particularly challenging workout, a swim session can also be a great way to recover and feel a bit more “zen.”

“You can absolutely get a good workout in the pool in 30 minutes,” said Michael. “If you're coming to the gym 3 days a week, you can use your swim as a warm up, you can use it as the middle/intense part of your session, or use it as your active recovery, or even as a meditation.”

The great part about swimming is you can jump in (no pun intended) anytime. It’s not something you have to constantly keep up with. “It can be a special treat (the easiest thing you do all week) or you can add in a swim workout as a special challenge,” said Michael.

First time swimming? Here’s some advice from Michael: “Just commit to getting wet for the first time. Once you get the ball rolling, you’ll love it. Especially as the weather warms up and the days get longer!”

Check out Michael's 3 30-minute Swim Workouts below, and try one during your next swim session!

Warm Up



Learn about Chelsea Piers Aquatics Programs: CONNECTICUT NEW YORK