The Garmin Swim for Recording Swimming Training Online

The Garmin Swim for Recording Swimming Training Online Hot

editor   February 21, 2013  
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Unboxing of the Garmin Swim
A custom screen I added to easily show length count and my efficiency
The ANT stick for data transfer
Button Detail
The Swim Button in Detail
Back Detail
garmin swol efficience rating
swim session report
face closeup
clasp and soft rubber strap
back detail

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The Garmin Swim

First Impressions

I like the design with the nice big flat face and the interest the swim button gives. The five solid and easy to use Aluminium (guessing) buttons balance the looks and give it a nautical feel to me at least. The watch is comfortable to use the strap is a soft quality rubber. It looks well made and I can’t really fault it on looks.

The Garmin Swim Official Website

I have set up the data for myself my weight – pool length and the time/date also with ease and am ready to jump in!

I did go through the quick start guide which will be enough for most people but the full instructions live online 

I should make note that I am used to my scuba diving watch – after setting and turning on I just start to dive and it starts working. With the swim you need to explicitly start the timer to start recording your swim. If you go all through your swim without rest you will not complete intervals and have a single swim. If you rest you should click the pause, or change stroke etc to create an interval. You can program the watch to do specific interval trainings if you so wish.

So just jumping in and swimming I realized I had forgotten to press start ! So I lost 10 lengths of my workout. A very short day today and a brief into to the Garmin Swim. I am yet to upload the data from the session but it looked like the swim didn’t miss any lengths.

What I like immediately is that if you pick up the watch it turns itself ON – so it discretely saves the battery you can change yourself. It functions well as a normal watch and has a back light. It is also a very lightweight device and you wont notice it on your wrist.

One of the more annoying things about swimming for me was loosing count of the lengths – it wasn’t often but at times in the groove my mind could wander. Now I will rack up my work and track my weekly ‘meterage’ on the front ‘home page’ and what a motivator this will be. It also has a tool for measuring your efficiency that is minimizing the number of strokes per length so you can see when you are doing well in the technical side of things.

The Garmin Swim (GS) needs to be told if you are doing non normal stroke training this is like just using a float and kicking for example or one arm swimming to improve a weak side. Then you would pause your normal swim then select DRILL TRAINING and start and stop at the end. You must count the lengths and enter them yourself as the distance though.

The Upload Process

It was a while before the ANT picked up my second device but it did after some messing around and this is due to my mac knowledge being weak. So the ANT software has some options that you find in the header bar of my version of OS Snow Leopard anyway. So once I saw that and messed a bit the watch eventually got paired. Now indeed when the watch gets close to the ANT stick while connected to the USB port and the internet it is immediately uploaded into Garmin Connect. It was also worth noting that a firmware update came the other way after I had uploaded my first session. Be sure that it will wipe your device clean of the data gathered thus far. And on that note it is a good time to say that it keeps the most recent 50 swims the older ones get overwritten. So the moral is to keep the ANT stick in and active now and again and seamlessly uploading.

Getting to know it

I was unsure from my intuitive pressings the first day how to set an interval up and pressed the right hand side central button – you can get to make intervals this way but it isn’t the best way. Just click once the lower right hand side button once and the screen inverts. This is now paused and ready to begin the next interval. So clicking starts you off again and into the new interval. I did make a mistake and added an interval that seemed empty so too many presses first off but it looks like the upload has removed this false interval which is great. I would have liked to have seen how to get a big field displaying my current length count – this is one of the reasons I wanted this device. I can now daydream away in the knowledge that it is at work gathering my stats.

And just 2 swims in the stats are revealing. I was much fitter the second day not surprising but more so for the fact that my stroke efficacy rating was down (lower is better) this is the SWOL down 2 points from my first swim.

The GS can cope with you not setting any intervals and just swimming changing your stroke. It detected correctly the change of stroke without problem.

You can look forward to more videos and photos as they come along very shortly. I really look forward to your comments so please do take the time to do that in support - thanks.

If you would like to connect with me then you can do so on this website or on the garmin connect service here.

Useful Links : The Garmin Connect Swim Tips and Tutorial Video


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People in this conversation

  • Looks great. On most watches of this style, I've found the strap wears out first, so hopefully that's not the case with this one (or at least if it does, you can replace easily).

    0 Like
  • Guest - Ralph Averbuch


    I just got the Garmin Swim yesterday. Overall it's a massive improvement over nothing which is how I have swum for years... many many years!

    I got the Swim yesterday and took it for a spin in the local pool. MY general impressions of it are that it can give ghost lengths. Out of 122 lengths this morning it said I'd done 123. That's hardly a disaster as I knew what I'd done in reality and the most useful aspect I think will be the intervals and the overall training time.

    Where it has a lot of room for improvement is in accurately detecting strokes. I swim 80 front crawl but each 10th length I try do give a burst of speed - I found those faster lengths were detected but logged as the Butterfly? I also found it much less accurate at detecting the back crawl, getting confused with breaststroke (which I hardly ever do).

    I expect some of these issues may improve with firmware updates for the watch.

    As for the online companion website for storing and analysing your personal data ... I like this. However, it's clearly much more geared to running and cycling than to swimming. Definitely room for improvement there.



    from Pencaitland, East Lothian EH34, UK
    1 Like
  • Hi Ralph
    Thanks for posting this in depth comment. I agree that the connect has some limitations but the best thing is that it tracks and silently records for posterity your performance. And at a given time you son for example could say my dad was in this pool 20 years ago and he was doing this...I think that is great.
    You clearly test the aceelerometer beyond what it is capable of and I would hope that firmware could fix it.
    Do you think you will allow it to count for you. I liked that it released me of that burden. I used to let my mind wander and loose count too. Then I would have to do a bakers dozen type thing :) so I didn't cheat myself.
    No GPS here and for open water swimmers that could have been great but its not aimed at that and this would be of limited use to most people. I find that I needed to get used to the button controls a bit sometimes pausing it but then wondering if I had needed to. I think I decided leaving it running was best at least for me.
    I am sure our readers really appreciated your review - I did. Thanks

    0 Like
  • Guest - Ralph Averbuch


    It can count for me but, given, after today's swim, it had still failed to accurately count the lengths, I think I'll still do it in my head anyway. That's how I know when I'm done and need to get out of the pool :)



    from Pencaitland, East Lothian EH34, UK
    0 Like

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