Garmin Swim Review

Garmin Swim heart rate watch”Lap-counting” watches as they’re affectionately named have gained popularity in the last two years for good reason. But there’s more than just counting laps with the Garmin Swim.

On first looks, you might mistake it for a regular digital watch except the bright blue “swim” button on the side gives it away. It can comfortably be worn as a regular watch though, since it is aesthetically trendy and light enough. It’s primary raison d’etre of course is to keep track of your pool swim training. Please note: this is not an open water swimming watch.

In the pool, the watch wears comfortably and is hardly noticeable. The screen is easily readable, simple to operate and can be customised to display the metrics you’re interested in. Out the pool, Garmin have capitalised on their USB +ANT technology to synchronise workouts and keep the watch up to date with the latest firmware. As with most products, you will need an online account to manage your devices and review your workouts.

The watch is powered with a standard CR232 battery and is reported to last approximately one year.

The stroke recognition is fair but has some kinks, even with the latest firmware updates. Breaststroke, backstroke and butterfly are mostly recorded but with small errors. That said, if you predominantly swim freestyle, you should not encounter any issues there. Remembering to start-stop at the end of each interval does make your swim a little more complicated, for example, if you do a series of short 10x50m sprints. On the plus side, you will at least be able to accurately track how many sprints you have done.

The online analytics and reported statistics are missing a few key swimming-specific elements but serve the purpose of keeping tabs on general swimming progress. If you’re looking for a swimming watch for general fitness and recreation, and swim primarily freestyle (which many do), the Garmin Swim will serve you well.

R1599 |
Garmin Southern Africa 011 251 9999

Originally published in the November/December 2012 issue.


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About Bryan Allott

Bryan has competed in lifesaving and triathlon since 1992 and is the current Around the Rocks open water swim champ. Unable to love just one sport, you'll find him out on a beach, near an ocean, mountain, the trail or the bush

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