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Thread: Gps swim watch

  1. #1
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    Gps swim watch

    Have been swimming in the ocean and walking (instead of swimming in the pool and weight training) since the Covid 19 crisis began so have been thinking of getting a watch that keeps track of both my distance swimming and distance walking. Seems like the Garmin Swim 2 watch is the best out there (not interested in Apple). Before I take the plunge I was hoping for some feedback from people who already use it.

  2. #2
    aka Elaine-iaK & Aqua Dog ElaineK's Avatar
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    Re: Gps swim watch

    Quote Originally Posted by kainalunui View Post
    Have been swimming in the ocean and walking (instead of swimming in the pool and weight training) since the Covid 19 crisis began so have been thinking of getting a watch that keeps track of both my distance swimming and distance walking. Seems like the Garmin Swim 2 watch is the best out there (not interested in Apple). Before I take the plunge I was hoping for some feedback from people who already use it.

    Contact pwb (Patrick Brundage). He uses a Garmin Swim 2 and posted about it on the "Measuring heart rate while swimming" thread.
    http://ElaineiaKsTravels.wordpress.com

    ~ Believing in your dreams can be far more rewarding than living by your limitations ~Karla Peterson

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    Re: Gps swim watch

    Thanks ElainK. Didn't notice that thread.

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    Re: Gps swim watch

    Thanks pwb. I tried pm'ing you to thank you but not sure if the messages went through.

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    Very Active Member ForceDJ's Avatar
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    Re: Gps swim watch

    I'll offer my experience with using a GPS watch for open water swimming. But, I will admit that I've never used a GPS watch with a swim function. The GPS watches I've used for open water swimming have always been running watches. First I used the Garmin Forerunner 10, and now use the Garmin Forerunner 25. They're both inexpensive, and basic providing pretty much only time, distance, and pace. When used for open water swimming, they don't really work well when worn on your wrist...they lose the GPS signal when you plunge your hand into the water, and then it may or may not regain the signal once your hand comes out of the water for your brief recovery. At best, when the watch is worn on the wrist for a swim, the resulting route will be all "zig zaggy" and the distance will be way off. I'm not sure how GPS watches with a swim function overcome that (probably use of "dead reckoning" but that's a different discussion). So, with my running GPS watch, at first I was strapping it to my head, under my cap, so that it would be on the crown of my head and never go under water. That worked pretty well. But, I couldn't really take a quick glance to see how far I had gone. But I could hear the 'beep' at each mile. Then, a couple years ago I began towing one of those inflatable safety buoys during open water swims. Now, I tie the watch so that it's on the top of the buoy and it works great, and is accurate. The only issue I've discovered is that I have to make sure "Auto Pause" is not turned on. If it is, swimming is so slow compared to running, or even walking, that the watch thinks you've stopped so it stops recording. Another issue is the calorie count. If you upload a recorded workout to Strava or MMR, a two-mile swim will say you only burned around 100 calories. I guess that's because it's a 'running watch' and it think you took an hour to run just two miles.

    Dan
    Last edited by ForceDJ; August 29th, 2020 at 03:52 PM.

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    Very Active Member pwb's Avatar
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    Re: Gps swim watch

    I'll post here what I shared in a few different PMs ...

    First, some background. I'm in my early 50s now and have been a competitive swimmer since I was about 7 or 8 years old. It's all I really like to do for exercise! I really don't like to wear watches (even on land) and have pretty much always resisted wearing a watch while swimming. Years ago, when the original Garmin Swim came out, someone got it for me and I grudgingly tried it, but just didn't find it useful for pool swimming.

    Fast forward to our pandemic times. When our pools closed (I now live about 90 minutes north of Toronto, Canada), I reverted to walking/hiking as my main form of exercise. In mid-May, though, I got a tip on a nearby, shallow lake that had finally become warm enough to swim in with a wetsuit. I did a bit of research and decided that the Garmin Swim 2 watch could be a good option for measuring my swim distances in my lake swim. I did read good reviews of the Apple Watch, but, as I don't wear a watch, just didn't feel like I needed all those other bells and whistles.

    Here's what I like/love about the Garmin Swim 2:

    • Low profile and snug fit. I really don't notice it when I'm swimming, except when I get the alert buzz that I've completed a lap/gone a certain distance. This is REALLY important to me ... back to me hating watches
    • I'm very confident that the open water swim distance measurements are pretty darn accurate. So, it seems to go a great job for wild swimming.
    • Though the user interface is not the most intuitive, I do like that you can customize the 'data fields' that show on the watch face. I have my main OW screen set to just show distance so that, at any point, I can pause a bit and easily see how far I've gone. I can usually do that mid-stroke without much of a pause as the font is large enough if you limit the screen to showing only one 'data element' (e.g., distance).
    • I like the 'Lap' feature (which, in metric, is set at 500M) as, when you turn that feature on, you get both a physical buzz (which you can feel) and an audio buzz, and then for a bit, the watch face shows you your time on that lap. This is helpful, as well, for judging speed if you're trying to swim for time/pace.
    • You can also add additional alerts based upon time, distance or other metrics. So, I was doing one virtual open water event that had both a Half-Ironman (1930 meters) and Ironman (3860 meters) distance, so I added an alert every 965 meters so I'd know when I was halfway through the Half, etc.
    • I really don't wear the watch in the pool because I don't need it except for one specific use: I do a heart-rate test set to assess my fitness every 4-6 weeks. The heart rate monitor seems to do a good job measuring HR even in the water, so I use it for that. (That test set came from Dave Salo and I summarize it in this recent post -https://www.1001pools.com/single-pos...-testing-1-2-3)
    • Finally, on land, while I don't run, I have a 4-5K trail walk that I can do from my house. I set the watch on the run mode and it gives me good feedback on distance and pace.
    • The 'GPS map tracks' on both the swim function and the run function are awesome and fun.



    Here's what is sub-par about the watch:

    • It works really well for freestyle and backstroke, but seems to get messed up if you're doing a lot of breaststroke. I think that's because the watch needs to be out of the water fairly frequently to stay in synch with the GPS satellites. That's not a big deal for me as I am pretty much only doing freestyle in open water, but I have noticed that and other people have commented on that.
    • If you are wearing it in the pool and do things other than swimming (e.g., drills, kicking), it does NOT do a good job of tracking distance.
    • There's a bit of funkiness to get the watch set up initially with the Garmin Connect app, and to alter watch faces with a different Garmin app (IQ) ... but once I figured that out, Garmin Connect works well and I haven't changed the main watch face.

  7. #7
    Very Active Member Kurt Dickson's Avatar
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    Re: Gps swim watch

    I have a Garmin 910 and Garmin Swim 2. I can feel lap alarm on 910 but not on Swim 2. I can't make either work for a hike (put a little jog in and it's fine). For some reason both think I'm standing still. Perhaps it's my turtle hiking pace. The swim 2 is awful for detecting stroke. I swam every single event in the virtual championship and I think the only one that I didn't have to enter manually was 200 fly.

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    Very Active Member Calvin S's Avatar
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    Re: Gps swim watch

    Going to have to double check your 200 FL result. Do you have race video? I made sure mine was recorded for proof of the deed

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    Very Active Member Kurt Dickson's Avatar
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    Re: Gps swim watch

    Quote Originally Posted by Calvin S View Post
    Going to have to double check your 200 FL result. Do you have race video? I made sure mine was recorded for proof of the deed
    Since I'm dead on the inside, I can't be photographed.

    Virtual swimming is dead to me.

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    Re: Gps swim watch

    Haha! I'd like to see a picture of your watch under your cap! I've been trying to figure out how I could keep a gopro handy on my ocean swims without it getting in the way of my swimming (which is the priority). I've seen seals, sharks, flounders, crabs, barracudas, huge schools of mackerel etc. this summer without any photographic evidence.

    I guess I shouldn't even consider the Forerunners. Looks like I'll have a steep learning curve with my new watch.

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    Re: Gps swim watch

    Well, I ordered it this morning on Amazon so I hope I have better luck with it than you. I'll have to remember to get a wiggle on when I use it to measure my walks!

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    Active Member olivesss's Avatar
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    Re: Gps swim watch

    For those with the Garmin Swim 2, what's the longest (time) open-water swim you've done?

    I just got the watch and after seeing how much the battery depletes with a couple of pool swims I have doubts as to whether the battery will last long enough for a 10k open water with GPS on.

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    Re: Gps swim watch

    Quote Originally Posted by olivesss View Post
    For those with the Garmin Swim 2, what's the longest (time) open-water swim you've done?

    I just got the watch and after seeing how much the battery depletes with a couple of pool swims I have doubts as to whether the battery will last long enough for a 10k open water with GPS on.

    2.5 hours. I didn't think to check the battery life, I usually just charge up. I will echo almost all of pwb's comments. It stinks in the pool if you do drills or UDK's, etc. It even screws up if you carry your UDK's a long distance (for me, I carry my back UDK's as far as I can).

    But overall, I like it. Don't trust the calorie count. But it seems to be pretty dead on on the distance. I llike the lap features where you can go back and look. And the Swolf, etc. It really has everything one could want for open water swimming.

    It can get clunky if you are doing sets on an interval. You can set teh interval timer, but if you have to change it (e.g. doing a Hackett set, and increasing the interval after each group), it can get screwy, especially if you want to try to monitor your heart rate. Maybe it will just take some getting used to (kind of like getting in the pool, again - I got fast in open water, but now I am SLOW in the pool, argh!).



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    Very Active Member pwb's Avatar
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    Re: Gps swim watch

    Quote Originally Posted by olivesss View Post
    For those with the Garmin Swim 2, what's the longest (time) open-water swim you've done?

    I just got the watch and after seeing how much the battery depletes with a couple of pool swims I have doubts as to whether the battery will last long enough for a 10k open water with GPS on.
    I did a 10K open water in 2:47 and I think I still had 20% battery life left at the end.

  15. #15
    Active Member olivesss's Avatar
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    Re: Gps swim watch

    Glad to hear the battery can hold out for these longer swims.

    It seems like mine immediately drops to 50%, but then camps out at that charge for a long time.

  16. #16
    Very Active Member pwb's Avatar
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    Re: Gps swim watch

    Quote Originally Posted by olivesss View Post
    It seems like mine immediately drops to 50%, but then camps out at that charge for a long time.
    That seems odd. I've not had a problem with mine, but maybe call Garmin and see if this is normal. Maybe you got a bit of a dud/lemon??

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    Re: Gps swim watch

    How are you finding how much battery is left? I can't seem to find that info.

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    Very Active Member pwb's Avatar
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    Re: Gps swim watch

    Quote Originally Posted by 67King View Post
    How are you finding how much battery is left? I can't seem to find that info.
    Using the ConnectIQ app, you can change the watch face. I have the "Simple TDB" watch face at is just shows date, time, heart rate and battery percentage on the main face/screen

  19. #19
    Very Active Member ForceDJ's Avatar
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    Re: Gps swim watch

    Quote Originally Posted by olivesss View Post
    For those with the Garmin Swim 2, what's the longest (time) open-water swim you've done?

    I just got the watch and after seeing how much the battery depletes with a couple of pool swims I have doubts as to whether the battery will last long enough for a 10k open water with GPS on.
    The Garmin Forerunner 25 that I mentioned in my above post from Aug 29...I use it for open water swims by strapping it to my swim buoy. It works great (for time/pace/distance only). I did an 12k open water swim a couple of weeks ago that because of water conditions took excessively longer than it should have...5½ hours. The fully charged FR25 recorded the entire swim.

    Dan

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