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.