Date Posted:7 March 2016
A swimming watch is a necessary tool for swimmers who would like to measure their performance while training. The common swim metrics you would want to know is your swim distance, pace, stroke type identification, stroke count, and swimming efficiency (swolf). Like any other sports instruments, choosing the best swimming watch depends on what features you want it to have as well how much you’re willing to spend for it.
If you’re out in the market for a swimming watch, here are the five things you need to consider.
If you'll only be using the watch in a pool, the following watches would be great. These swim watches use an internal accelerometer instead of GPS to determine your stroke type, and lengths/laps. When you use these watches in swim mode, you will need to specify the pool length you’ll be training on.
Pool and Open Water
If you’ll be using the watch in both pool and openwater, you will need a watch that has GPS. The following multisport watches use GPS technology to determine your pace, distance and location while out swimming in large bodies of water like rivers, lakes, and oceans. These watches are usually recommended for triathletes.
The Garmin Swim watch is one of the best watch designed exclusively for swimming. This means that it satisfies most swimmers’ required comfort, accuracy, user-friendliness and the value of information. You can also set the Garmin Swim to regular watch mode so you can use it as your daily watch.
Swimming and other sports
In addition to swim mode, the following multisport GPS watches can be used for running, cycling, and other sports.
Swimming and daily activity tracking
The multisport GPS watches below can be used for different sports such as running and biking, and can also monitor your daily steps, distance, calories, and sleep.
While the TomTom Spark Cardio and Multisport Cardio have a built-in heart rate monitor, this feature is disabled when them in swimming mode. If you want to track your heart rate while swimming, you would need to use swim watches which can be paired with a compatible chest-strap that can track your heart rate underwater. Below are a few of them.
The watches below lets you receive email, text and other alerts when paired with a compatible smartphone.
Transferring your swim data should be quick and easy. The swim watches below allow you to wirelessly transfer your swim data from your watch to your computer with either via ANT+ connectivity, USB, Bluetooth Smart, or Wifi.
ANT+® wireless technology
USB or Bluetooth Smart
USB, Bluetooth Smart, or WiFi
Display resolution, WxH
55 x 31 pixels
1.4 oz (40.0 g)
1 year - CR2032 (user replaceable)
205 x 148 pixels
38.0 g (1.34 oz)
Up to 3 weeks (10 hours in GPS mode)
Garmin Forerunner 920XT
2.1 oz (61 g)
Up to 40 hours in UltraTrac mode; up to 24 hours in training mode; up to 4 months in watch mode
Garmin fenix 3
218 x 218 pixels
Silver/Dark: 2.9 oz (82 g)
Up to 50 hours in UltraTrac mode; up to 20 hours in GPS training mode; up to 6 weeks in watch mode
Suunto Ambit3 Sport
128 x 128 pixels
80 g (Coral); 86 g (Sapphire)
14 days (15h battery with 5 sec-GPS accuracy)
Suunto Ambit3 Peak
89 g (Black); 92 g (Sapphire)
30 days (30h battery with 5 sec-GPS accuracy)
Suunto Ambit3 Vertical
144 x 168 pixels
Activity tracking: up to 3 weeks, GPS: up to 11 hours
TomTom Spark Cardio
Activity tracking: up to 3 weeks, GPS: up to 11 hours, GPS + Heart Rate: up to 9 hours
Up to 10 hours (GPS Mode)
TomTom Multisport Cardio
Up to 8 hours (GPS+HR), up to 10 hours (GPS)
Which swimming watch do you think is suited for your needs? Please comment below.
If you're looking for a GPS watch for a certain sport, feel free to check out these buying guides:
Watches for swim training
By: paul jacklin on 14 August 2016
From the comments in the article above, is the Tom Tom Spark cardio not suitable for both pool and open water swim training? I am a bit confused since this watch has GPS capabilities. I wear glasses and like the large image size on this watch.
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