Watch for indoor and outdoor swimming

MvGMvG Brussels (BE) and Lith (NL)Charter Member
Hi all,

I was wondering if there's a watch that can do all or most of the following:
- count laps (25 and 50 meters) reliably
- stopwatch with automatic restart at set intervals ( for sets of 50s, 100s, etc.), preferably with a start beep
- measure water temperature
- allow GPS tracking / measure distance swum in open water
- measure heart rate (preferably without a chest band, but from the pulse in one's wrist ( not even sure this exists?))
- measure (average) stroke rate

Is there a watch doing all or most of these things?

I'd be grateful for your recommendations, advice, experiences, links, etc. so I can tell Santa!

Milko

(I know swim watches have been discussed on the MSF in bits and pieces in various threads, but I haven't found the info I am looking for, so launch a new discussion. But ok if Administrators prefer to add my question onto an existing thread.)

Comments

  • Kevin_in_MDKevin_in_MD Senior Member
    edited November 2014
    The garmin 910 xt, 920 xt and fenix 2 do everything on that list except the heart rate.

    The new polar triathlon watch supposedly will do those things when they release a firmware update for it.

    There are several other options that work indoors only.
    MvG
  • IronMikeIronMike Moscow, RussiaCharter Member
    @MvG, looks like the Bia might do some of what you need.
    MvG
  • MvGMvG Brussels (BE) and Lith (NL)Charter Member
    Thanks both. Suunto Ambut3 seems cool ( and expensive) too. Pity about the chest strap, which tends to move off one's chest when pushing after the turn.
  • mpfmarkmpfmark Teesside England Charter Member
    Suunto ambit3
    MvG
  • BrendanBrendan Portland, ORMember
    I have the ambit2 s. I cannot recommend it enough. its an amazing watch with a variety of pretty awesome apps.
    MvG
  • I've been looking for a watch that will counts laps and tracks GPS distance in open water (salt). I also don't like the 910 because it seems incredible bulky for swimming. Any comments or preferences between the Fenix2 and Ambit2s for indoor and outdoor swim training?
  • Can't really add to the discussion other than to say I really am curious which one you decide on. Let us know!

    I am torn between the Garmin Fenix 2 and the Suunto Ambit 3, but leaning towards the Fenix, since my daily watch and indoor swimming companion is the Garmin Swim, which I really love since it has had some serious software upgrades.

    Follow me on [b]"The Great Big 10k Marathon Swimming Adventure"[/b] (yes, I know, but getting to 10k is a big marathon for me!) at http://www.wimmerblog.com

  • MvGMvG Brussels (BE) and Lith (NL)Charter Member
    edited March 2015
    Ok, so Father Christmas and then my birthday came and went as I wasn't able to make up my mind... :-)
    But I have managed to reduce the options to just a few, and would appreciate further advice and your experiences with these. Best to post below for the benefit of others, but you can pm me if you prefer.

    Suunto Ambit3 looks fantastic and has all the functionality I need and then some, but has still no Android connectivity, only IOS. I'd like to use it with a Samsung smartphone. They have been promising an Android App since October last year but seem to keep procrastinating, to the dismay of a lot of Android-using Suunto customers, who are even petitioning Suunto on forums and Fb to hurry up on the Android front.

    Garmin FR 920XT also has phenomenal functionality, with full Android and IOS connectivity but with its (black and blue plastic look I would hesitate to wear it in a more formal office environment and I don't like changing watches all the time.
    Thankfully Garmin will soon (this month) release the Fenix 3 which combines the functionality of the 920XT with much more pleasing aesthetics. Only one worry there: Garmin's heart rate sensor, designed more for runners, seems clunkier than Suunto's and looks not very suitable for swimming?

    So: happy to hear about experiences with Suunto Ambit3 and Garmin 920XT (or 910XT), including the HR sensor issue.

    Thanks all!
  • GarbageBargeGarbageBarge NY (Hudson Valley)Charter Member

    Can you tell if you're in your target heart rate range while swimming with any of the above? If so, do you have to look at the watch or do any have a vibrating alarm? I haven't seen many positive reviews of the Finis AquaPulse, but it will audibly tell you your heart rate. I'd prefer to just get an alarm if I'm above or below target, which is the way most dry land HRMs operate, but I haven't found one that can do this for swimming.

    Thanks for the knowledge.

  • Kevin_in_MDKevin_in_MD Senior Member

    GarbageBarge said: Can you tell if you're in your target heart rate range while swimming with any of the above?

    The finis is the only thing out there right now that can conceivably alert you if your heart rate is out of your intended zone one way or the other on the fly, and do it dependably - if you're a man.

    The problem is a combination of heart rate straps and of information conduction. On a man, you just won't be able to get the strap to stay on when doing turns in the pool, whether open or flip variety, though you might be able to do it in open water. The strap slips down. For ladies who can put it under their suit, it will work fine.

    This is halfway solved with a couple of different diode-based straps which shine a light into your skin and can see the heartbeat from the difference in amount of light reflected back from your blood with each beat. Some of these go on your arm, your leg and so forth.

    HOWEVER, all of these diode-based straps currently produced use a 2.4 GHz transmission frequency which doesn't travel through water. So they can't alert you in real time if your hr is too high for example, thoguh some of them have a memory and you can review your heart rate later.

    Hopefully in the near future we'll have a watch with the diode based heart rate sensor built into it. Probably the next big upgrade for garmin in 2 or so years I reckon.

    In a strange twist of fate, the tomtom cardio sport already HAS the sensor in it, AND measures swimming but the heart rate is turned off when swimming mode is active.

    loneswimmer
  • IronMikeIronMike Moscow, RussiaCharter Member

    @Kevin_in_MD, couldn't you wear a rash guard over the strap? If it's tight enough, that could help keep the strap in place over the heart.

  • GarbageBargeGarbageBarge NY (Hudson Valley)Charter Member

    Even if you can keep a strap in place, and the signal could travel through water, how would you be alerted when you go out of your intended range? You're not going to hear a beep on your watch while swimming. I won't anyway. I can barely hear my ironman when running. Finis might be the only solution, but it's not ideal for running (I think I read in a review that someone attached it to a hat), and I don't want to constantly know my rate, just if I go above or below my target. It's kind of surprising that no has produced this yet with all the products marketed for triathletes.

  • IronMikeIronMike Moscow, RussiaCharter Member

    @GarbageBarge, I can hear my repeat timer on my Casio.

  • GarbageBargeGarbageBarge NY (Hudson Valley)Charter Member

    @IronMike, I think I'm losing my high frequency hearing. Regardless, the Casio would have to be pretty loud to hear while swimming. I may need to check it out. I've bought a few Speedo vibrating alarm clocks so I could monitor my pace in longer sets, but the band breaks without fail after a year, and you can't replace it. It's molded around the watch face.

    IronMike
  • GarbageBargeGarbageBarge NY (Hudson Valley)Charter Member

    The Mio Fuse says it works in water and it has a vibrating alarm, and no chest strap. I just can't find a review of someone who has actually used it while swimming to stay in a zone. All the reviewers seem to care about is being able to store their data. Anybody familiar with the Fuse?

  • IronMikeIronMike Moscow, RussiaCharter Member
    edited September 2015

    Isn't that Mio the watch that some of our colleagues here developed? I thought I remembered reading smthg here about it.

    Edit: Nope, that's not it. I'll search for it and post here when I find it.

  • IronMikeIronMike Moscow, RussiaCharter Member
    edited September 2015

    The BIA! Dammit, that was killing me.

    www.bia-sport.com, although the URL is not working for me. It looks like they got the funding from their Kickstarter campaign, so maybe it's just me. @sylmarino?

  • Kevin_in_MDKevin_in_MD Senior Member

    Bia went out of business a year or so ago.

  • GarbageBargeGarbageBarge NY (Hudson Valley)Charter Member

    I tried a Mio Fuse in the pool this morning. It basically worked for what I wanted it to do. I was able to set a zone and it would vibrate if I was out of the zone. I could see the led light on it to tell if I was above or below zone. I was mostly below . When I ran with it earlier in the week, I kept going over. I may need to lower the floor rate for swimming. I set a range based on 180 - my age to 180 - (my age + 10). In my case that's from 122-132 beats per minute. That seems pretty narrow for any exercise, but I'm new to heart rate training. I tried a kick set with the heart rate on. I never got up into the range and the display kept cycling through all the data, even though I had turned off most of the data like calories and distance with the app. The app can be clunky from other reviews that I've read.

  • dc_in_sfdc_in_sf San FranciscoCharter Member

    GarbageBarge said: I tried a Mio Fuse in the pool this morning. It basically worked for what I wanted it to do. I was able to set a zone and it would vibrate if I was out of the zone. I could see the led light on it to tell if I was above or below zone. I was mostly below . When I ran with it earlier in the week, I kept going over. I may need to lower the floor rate for swimming. I set a range based on 180 - my age to 180 - (my age + 10). In my case that's from 122-132 beats per minute. That seems pretty narrow for any exercise, but I'm new to heart rate training. I tried a kick set with the heart rate on. I never got up into the range and the display kept cycling through all the data, even though I had turned off most of the data like calories and distance with the app. The app can be clunky from other reviews that I've read.

    for what it's worth I have previously read somewhere that your heart rate while swimming is reduced (vs say running at same effort) so you may need to adjust your heart rate targets for swimming vs running for the same target zone.

    http://notdrowningswimming.com - open water adventures of a very ordinary swimmer

  • ChrisgreeneChrisgreene Mercersburg PA/Atlanta, GAMember

    I just bought the fenix 3, love the watch, very intuitive -especially considering this is my first smart watch. I'm not really concerned with heart rate while swimming so that is not an issue. What is strange is in open water mode while swimming in an open water way ( 320 meter loops, not within lane lines, in out door pool) it measures distance at about 40% of actual. Not sure if it's because I'm in a pool. True test is a 10 Mile point to point race this weekend.

  • dc_in_sfdc_in_sf San FranciscoCharter Member

    Chrisgreene said: I just bought the fenix 3, love the watch, very intuitive -especially considering this is my first smart watch. I'm not really concerned with heart rate while swimming so that is not an issue. What is strange is in open water mode while swimming in an open water way ( 320 meter loops, not within lane lines, in out door pool) it measures distance at about 40% of actual. Not sure if it's because I'm in a pool. True test is a 10 Mile point to point race this weekend.

    That's a mighty big pool if you are getting 320m loops in it - circumnavigating an Olympic pool is ~145-150m depending on the width.

    http://notdrowningswimming.com - open water adventures of a very ordinary swimmer

  • ChrisgreeneChrisgreene Mercersburg PA/Atlanta, GAMember

    It's not just the lap section, I start in the lap section, go to the slide section (after about 25 meters), along the wall in the leisure section, back to the lap section, flip on the far wall and reverse course until I get back to where I started. About 4.5 minutes to complete what I guess should be called a "double loop".

  • IanBIanB New Member

    Hi all,

    This is a very old thread so it seems that wearables are not very popular in this forum and among swimmers in general.

    I'm a regular swimmer and I am considering spicing up my trainings with a sport watch. The Fenix 5 will be on the shelfs soon but it seems that sport watches are more intended for runners / cyclists with a tendency to swim.

    I realise that it's quite a budget to use only for swimming but still intend to give it a try.

    Am I a bit crazy to spend this much only to monitor swimming sessions? Would you recommend something else?

    I consider as well linking it to a Mio fuse to get my HR in the pool. I realise that's it's a bit over the top given that I'm just an amateur swimming enthousiast but there is also a geek side in me :-)

    I would be pleased if other geeks / swimmers share their experiences with wearables in the deep blue (pool and ow).

    Cheers!

    Solo
  • dc_in_sfdc_in_sf San FranciscoCharter Member

    IanB said: Hi all,

    This is a very old thread so it seems that wearables are not very popular in this forum and among swimmers in general.

    I'm a regular swimmer and I am considering spicing up my trainings with a sport watch. The Fenix 5 will be on the shelfs soon but it seems that sport watches are more intended for runners / cyclists with a tendency to swim.

    I realise that it's quite a budget to use only for swimming but still intend to give it a try.

    Am I a bit crazy to spend this much only to monitor swimming sessions? Would you recommend something else?

    I consider as well linking it to a Mio fuse to get my HR in the pool. I realise that's it's a bit over the top given that I'm just an amateur swimming enthousiast but there is also a geek side in me :-)

    I would be pleased if other geeks / swimmers share their experiences with wearables in the deep blue (pool and ow).

    Cheers!

    I love my Fenix 3 for OW and Lap swimming. I think the temperature sensor is a bit off (maybe reading a couple of degrees high due to being on my wrist) but helpful when comparing water temperature over different days. Having the ability to upload over BT or WiFi makes the whole process frictionless as well.

    The Fenix is also wearable as an every day watch with smartwatch capabilities, more so than say the 920XT which is your other choice in the Garmin range if you want OW capabilities.

    I say geek out and go for it!

    http://notdrowningswimming.com - open water adventures of a very ordinary swimmer

  • MoCoMoCo Worcester, MAMember

    I wear my 920xt every day, but I have no problems being a geek.

    I use a Mio Link with mine when I bike/run, but I've yet to swim with it. It should work, in theory although I hear that you can only see the data afterwards, not during (thanks, Garmin).

    It does not do temperature unless you buy an external sensor.

  • IanBIanB New Member

    Thanks. I'll get the Fuse right now and the F5 when it's out. I'll let you know how it works together. I plan to wear the F5 as an everyday watch as well to monitor my sleep and RHR.

  • abbygirlroseabbygirlrose Los Angeles, CAMember

    Does anyone have any experience using the new Apple watch in the pool? Or the app from Swim.com?

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