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Thread: Swim watch

  1. #1
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    Swim watch

    Does anyone have a recommendation (or a warning) to share about a swim watch? I'm looking for something to help me count distance and/or strokes. I'm thinking about the Garmin Swim. I have the Garmin Forerunner (for running) and am pretty happy with it.

  2. #2
    Very Active Member pwb's Avatar
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    Re: Swim watch

    Quote Originally Posted by Mandy Knapp View Post
    Does anyone have a recommendation (or a warning) to share about a swim watch? I'm looking for something to help me count distance and/or strokes. I'm thinking about the Garmin Swim. I have the Garmin Forerunner (for running) and am pretty happy with it.
    Maybe I didn't think through what I actually wanted out of this watch, but I found the Garmin Swim to be nothing more than a glorified waterproof watch. You might be seeking different things, but here's what I found.
    • The stroke counting mechanism works fine enough for fly and breast, but not for free or back since it can only count strokes for one arm. So, if I was swimming free and had the watch on, the watch might read "5" at the end of a length, but that could mean I took 9, 10 or 11 single arm strokes. That data for free and back, therefore, is meaningless to me.
    • The lap counting mechanism works fine, but I don't ever do long straight swims where I would lose count and, if I did lose count, glancing at the pace clock while pushing off the wall is easier and less disruptive to my swim than trying to read the small watch face.
    • The "which stroke was I swimming" identification was suspect
    • The downloaded data (and I am a data geek) was less useful than my memory or, if I was going to do something complex, a pencil and an $11 diving slate by the side of the pool.


    The one place it came in handy was on the odd times when I dropped into lap swim at a pool without a pace clock. But, then it really just turned into a small pace clock I wrapped around my water bottle.

  3. #3
    Active Member mrubacky's Avatar
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    Re: Swim watch

    I got Swimovate's poolmate as a Father's day present 4 years ago. I honestly loved it and actually would pull all the data by hand. Last year I bought the poolmate HR and it's even better. I love the feature that it vibrates based on how many laps or time so i can use it for long distance sets by going off every 100 or by pace to go off on my 100 SI. One feature I didn't know of is the software will convert everything to what your base course is when it's downloaded in the software. This was great over the summer when I kept switching from LCM to SCY based on the pool I was swimming in. I could compare workouts between the two pools. The HR function doesn't work well for me because I'm a guy and the band would move as I swam. I found wearing a surfing rash guard keeps it in place, so I only use it when I taper so I can make sure my sprints are hitting target HR.

  4. #4
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    Re: Swim watch

    I like my Garmin Swim. I especially like that I can sync with swim.com and monitor my mileage, average pace and personal best times. Helps me monitor my progress. Before getting the Garmin, I had the Finis watch. Actually I had 3 Finis watches over time because the strap kept breaking. The Finis is better in only one way - it will automatically determine when you stop so you don't have to start and stop for each interval. With the Garmin, you do have to start and stop which took some getting used to and I still mess it up every once in awhile. But, in all other ways, I think the Garmin is better than the Finis. By far.

  5. #5

    Re: Swim watch

    Quote Originally Posted by mrubacky View Post
    I got Swimovate's poolmate as a Father's day present 4 years ago. I honestly loved it and actually would pull all the data by hand. Last year I bought the poolmate HR and it's even better. I love the feature that it vibrates based on how many laps or time so i can use it for long distance sets by going off every 100 or by pace to go off on my 100 SI. One feature I didn't know of is the software will convert everything to what your base course is when it's downloaded in the software. This was great over the summer when I kept switching from LCM to SCY based on the pool I was swimming in. I could compare workouts between the two pools. The HR function doesn't work well for me because I'm a guy and the band would move as I swam. I found wearing a surfing rash guard keeps it in place, so I only use it when I taper so I can make sure my sprints are hitting target HR.
    Poolmate have just recently released the Poolmate Pro 2. - Looks like they've redesigned it a bit and added a few extra features. Has anyone tried it out?

  6. #6
    Very Active Member m2tall2's Avatar
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    Re: Swim watch

    I just got a Garmin Swim. I spent two hours in the pool yesterday playing with it.

    What I LOVE about it is that I get splits for every length of the pool without hitting a button. Apparently I can negative split like nobody's business, no matter the length of the interval, no matter how fast the sprint or how steady the distance. This doesn't entirely suprise me but it's interesting to see. This feature has me a little puzzled as to why I have to hit the button at the end of the interval to get the timer to stop. I might play with that today and see if it's necessary or if it will pick up the rest.

    The free/back SPL data is fairly useless but I had figured that. I tend not to focus on SPL in those though and care much more about how many strokes in breast.

    As far as stroke detection, its a bit of a mess. In a 3,000 yard workout, it got all my free lengths fine, it logged my measly 100 yards of fly as free, and my paltry 100 yards back as back. But out of 1,000 yards of breast, it only correctly got 200 yards, the rest were marked as back. :-/ I did all of those as 25s or 50s in an attempt to see what what was throwing it off, with no real rhyme or reason. I started to get better accuracy when I decided it might be the positioning of the watch throwing it off (needing to be closer to the wrist, better centered and more snug) but eventually that started failing the detection as well. I tried playing with the width of my outsweep, the direction of my inscull, elbow position, etc. When I decided to try a length doing a recreational-style breaststroke with a slow, wide circular path and it finally logged as breaststroke, I almost wanted to smash the watch on the pool deck. I had read you could change the stroke in the final log but this is not the case. You can export the log to a 3rd party, edit the log and then import it back in. Humph.
    The statistics are fun but the ones garmin gives are largely useless. If I'm swimming 1/3 of my workout breast, my average pace is NOT going to be comparable to a workout that I do mostly free or entirely IM. Also average SPL is a joke when you are doing mixed strokes. It was neat to go into the detail log and see the SPL overlapped with the pace of the length. But the Garmin stats are largely geared towards the triathlete who mostly swims freestyle. They do not bother giving you statistics for any individual stroke at all. But, in a couple clicks you can import this into swim.com for free and get useful information. Like minutes, yards, SPL, average pace per stroke.
    Anyways, I gotta go swim (yay, more watch playing) but I was curious, too, to see what others had found with this watch and others.

  7. #7
    Very Active Member gobears's Avatar
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    Re: Swim watch

    This probably just means I'm old, but swim watches bother me as a coach. I feel like the swimmers who have them rely too much on their watches (constantly punching buttons and watching their wrist instead of the pace clock) instead of relying on their own brains. I think there is great value in paying attention to what you are doing - knowing how far you swam and how fast because you kept track in your head - and watched the clock. Knowing how to read a pace clock, find your times and pace yourself according to your internal clock are valuable tools. It seems like many swimmers with the watches don't know how to do any of this. They often don't have any idea how far they've swum or what they've done at the end of a practice unless they look at their data. That says a lot to me about how engaged their brains were while they were swimming... Again - maybe I'm just a curmudgeon...

  8. #8
    Very Active Member ForceDJ's Avatar
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    Re: Swim watch

    Wife gave me the Garmin vivoactive for Xmas. It's activity functions are swimming (pool only), cycling, running, walking, and sleep tracking. Through the use of bluetooth attached sensors it's also capable of working on the treadmill, stationary bike, and heart rate monitor.
    I haven't had a chance to use it yet, but I've been reading through the operator's manual on how the functions work. It comes loaded with several different pool sizes...including 33.33 yards, and 33.33 meters. But you can also enter a customized length. Like 'gobears' I won't be using it in the pool beyond using the stopwatch. But, I do wish it had a swim function for open water. There are GPS watches that work in open water but are much more expensive. I've read in serval places that placing the watch in the back of your swim cap, or in a drag bag that it'll work. They just don't work under water. So I'll give that a try in the spring.

    Dan

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    Very Active Member joshua's Avatar
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    Re: Swim watch

    I am a 62 year old fitness swimmer. I was considering buying a swim watch for quite awhile and recently I purchased the Garmin Swim for a good price at E Bay. So far these are my problems with the watch:
    1. The face is a bit small. As most folks my age, I am far sighted so it's sometimes not easy to see the data.
    2. Distance is measured by arm stroke. I do a lot of kick sets so the watch doesn't count them.
    3. Several times I counted laps in my head and the distance wasn't the same as the watch (and I'm sure I was correct).
    4. The watch is not meant for open water swimming.
    5. If this matters to anybody - the design of the watch is very simple and it looks like a cheap digital watch, so I don't like continuing with it to work.

  10. #10
    Very Active Member m2tall2's Avatar
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    Re: Swim watch

    After all my initial annoyances about the Garmin Swim, they don't bother me anymore. The one that really gets my goat is on the watch face, after you hit stop, it shows your interval time in full seconds. If you scroll through the display to see the last interval split, it's still only shown in full seconds. They couldn't be bothered to show even tenths. When you upload it has to the hundredths, so the data is there and no way to set the watch display to show it. Clearly for long distance folks...except it's not made for open water.

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    kitchen timer

    Quote Originally Posted by pwb View Post
    The one place it came in handy was on the odd times when I dropped into lap swim at a pool without a pace clock. But, then it really just turned into a small pace clock I wrapped around my water bottle.
    I used a kitchen timer at the end of the lane today for my intervals, attached to an inverse 2x4 T on nail heads for the magnet. The timer is much easier to see than my watch, and I've since ordered 2 more from Ebay.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Re: Swim watch

    Does anyone here use the Misfit Shine (advertised by Missy F.)?

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    Re: Swim watch

    Quote Originally Posted by sharkann View Post
    Does anyone here use the Misfit Shine (advertised by Missy F.)?
    I used the MisFit Shine as an activity tracker instead of getting the more more popular fitbit which will be ruined in the pool. The Misfit is strictly an activity tracker -- it only tracks the number of minutes you swam and the intensity. It does not count laps, strokes or any of the metrics expected of the dedicated swim watches. As an activity tracker to track steps, sleep, etc it worked well enough for it's price pointe. However, I don't not recommend the Misfit Shine because both the wrist strap and the belt clip are flawed. Mine kept falling out and eventually was lost.

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    Re: Swim watch

    I'm a fitness swimmer and currently considering to get a new swim watch but not sure which one? Don't know much about the new ones
    http://fitnesstracker24.com/10-best-waterproof-fitness-trackers-for-swimming/
    Need a tracker with good analytics and easy automatic tracking.
    Has anyone of you guys tied Moov Now or XMetrics http://www.xmetrics.it/ already?

  15. #15
    Very Active Member Sumorunner's Avatar
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    Re: Swim watch

    I got the Swimovate Poolmate last year. It's great for pool workouts: sets, laps, time, strokes, stroke rate, efficiency. Not good for open water since it is not a GPS.

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    Re: Swim watch

    I've been using the Garmin Swim for a couple of months and I like it very much. It counts laps perfectly, I've never seen an error. The lap splits are interesting to ponder and the swolf and "strokes per length" data are instructional as well. Seems like swimming is a perfect activity for the pursuit of continuous improvement and the Garmin Swim helps me evaluate the data.

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    Re: Swim watch

    I got a garmin swim a few months back and I love it. I have very thin wrists, all the other garmin watches were too big. The garmin swim fit perfectly. It counted my strokes and laps as well. Although the shortest distance you can have is 17 m, I believe. So far it has detected all my strokes correctly as well. I ran out of space once when I tried to save my swim logs and it asked if I wanted to purge the previous entries, which is a good thing. I was worried my log for that swim would have been lost. I also use swim.com which is automatically synced with the garmin connect. There is also a drills mode that allows you to mix with lap swimming. I found that extremely useful. The only problem is that the face has no light. So hopefully your pool has enough light for you to look at it while you are swimming.

  18. #18
    Very Active Member aztimm's Avatar
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    Re: Swim watch

    I've been using the Apple Watch (2nd generation) for swimming for about 3 months now.

    You do have to put it in, "workout mode," first. It essentially seals itself up, and you can't really do much with it until you finish. You can tap the screen to see your current distance/calories/time.
    Once you're done, scroll the wheel and it will unlock. You still need to stop the workout.

    Separately you put in your height/weight/which wrist you wear your watch on.

    The major flaws I have are:
    * doesn't track kicking
    * doesn't track doing 1-arm drills (for arm you don't have it on).

    Otherwise, I really enjoy the watch keeping track of my swimming, plus all the other things it does.
    Check out my blog here
    "You step onto the road, and if you don't keep your feet, there's no knowing where you might be swept off to."

  19. #19
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    Re: Swim watch

    I've used Garmin 920XT a triathlon watch with pool mode like the Garmin Swim, Swimovate Poolmate 2, Misfit, and Fitbit Flex 2. You need to decide what you want to track and also plan for potentially outgrowing what you get. The Garmin, Swimovate and Flex 2 all work on the principal of counting laps based on your turns. The Garmin and Swimovate are about equal in accuracy. Swimovate is smaller on the wrist and much cheaper but lacks customizable display, is hard to read while swimming, and measures a lot fewer metrics. Garmin is much pricier, large on the wrist but is easy to read in the water, has customizable display, and gives way more info. I started with a Poolmate as a lap counter before I started Masters and learned about intervals, pace clock etc. I later switched to Garmin. I was happy with both devices for their respective purposes. (I also use my Garmin for triathlon and open water). My Poolmate is still working fine but has been passed on to a family member - I have outgrown it. My misfit was strictly an activity tracker. All it will record is how long you swam and how intensely. I do not recommend it as stated by another forum member because both the belt clip and the wrist strap are flawed. You will definitely lose your device. Mine kept falling out of the holder and was lost after about 3 or 4 months. I also do not recommend the Fitbit Flex 2 for swimming and frankly it is not even a very good step counter. I recently posted about it on another thread, but the short version is that it lacks a display, it only counts swimming sets longer than 10 minutes, has a poor app, and only a three day battery life. In summary both Garmin and Poolmate are quality devices at different price points and feature sets.

  20. #20
    Very Active Member m2tall2's Avatar
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    Re: Swim watch

    Does the Garmin 920XT show you your actual split when you hit "pause" for the interval timer? Now a year later, I am looking to upgrade to something that will do open water as well. But it really annoys me that on the Swim when I hit interval on, say, a 50 it will show :35. Really? It's better than the pace clock but my $20 timex gave me more precise splits, it just didn't record enough of them. :35 could mean :35.4 or all the way down to :34.6. I'm sorry, but if I'm trying to do a few fast splits for time and no one to time me, that's a pretty big range. It will show the tenths in the upload. But real time would be a confidence boost or kick in the pants. And forget trying any USRPT style sets with it. I'd be cranky to spend a lot more on a watch that didn't give this basic chronograph feature in real time.

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