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I think it is great for swimming, you can hold the base of the handle between your thumb and index finger and get the same arm motion as a high elbow catch. I was also thinking about modifying a set of paddles to "latch" on to the handles which should not be too hard.
I have been mixing it into some strength sessions where I do the 500 M ski, then use the 1 minute recovery to do push ups, situps, squats. Its a killer workout. If you do good double poling technique it also works your abs, and there is a calf raise / small squat in each pull.
I dont have the floor stand. You bolt it to the wall at the top of the unit and at the bottom. There are two floor bolts go into the base plate 2" x 4" of a regular framed wall, the top are 16" on center so they hit the vertical studs of a framed wall on center. You can buy the floor stand if you plan to move it around. I have it in my basement pain cave. It costs $40 for UPS delivery and I had it assembled and working in 30 minutes max. It is really solid.
You can replace the grips if you want. There are small set screws in the bottom of the handles and you take those out to get to the loop of rope. In a first generation unit they had a XC ski pole handle and regular strap but too many people did not know how to use them correctly so they switched to the current green handles that have the flanges at the bottom. You can buy the older design if you prefer those.
Concept 2 is primarily designing things now for cross fit gyms so the new handles were better for people who just want to grab and go.
I don't swim but, I've had mine since February of this year. I also have the C2 rower. The rower is pretty much all posterior and the skierg nearly all anterior. It certainly provides a great core, arm, upper back and shoulder workout. Incredibly aerobic too. Great for HII training. All around a terrific piece of equipment.
Also, with the new one you can "single pole" with it so you can sort emulate the free style. I believe there are some youtube vids regarding using the skierg for swim cross training.
I just recently got a SkiErg. I agree that the motion of the lats and triceps is similar to what one does when swimming. The difference is in the motion the hips: Correct technique with the SkiErg involves hip flexion with each downward stroke which is not done when swimming.
Canadian Record Holder 35-39M & 40-44M - 200 m Butterfly (LCM)
Those would work fine if the handle was a little closer to the green handle, just so you can reach all the way forward.
The rowing erg is a great cross training tool which helps in all aspects. However the SkiErg appears to be more swim specific (lats and triceps) and may be a better substitute for swimmers who cannot always get to a pool.
"The person on top of the mountain didn't fall there." - unkown
also rule 5