Well, I now have my own Garmin Swim, so I have had a little more time to check out the good and the bad. I received it as a birthday present recently and have had the opportunity to take it out for three swims. Twice I have taken it for a short course 25 yard swim and once to a 50 meter long course pool. Overall I still think it is great! I have had a few minor issues that I thought I should point out.
The maiden voyage was a little rocky because I was still trying to figure out all of the controls and how best to utilize the features. When I first got in I warmed up with a 500 and everything worked fine. It counted every length without a problem. After that I started to mix it up a little bit and I noticed that when doing intervals there is no way to reset to interval 0 once you complete a set. For example, I did 10 x 50 @ :45, and then wanted to do a set of 5 x 100 @ 1:30. After it counted the 10 x 50 there was no way to go back to zero, so it just went to interval 11, 12, 13, 14 and 15 for the 100’s. Basically everytime you pause to change to a different set it just continues counting that as an interval. Not a big deal overall, but I would like to see Garmin do a software upgrade where you can reset the interval count to zero so it is not quite so confusing.
The watch counted almost every length correctly however I noticed that for some reason it did miss 50 yards over the practice for an unknown reason. I also missed another 150 yards because of user error, but I can’t blame that on the watch. I was able to add the missed yardage back into the watch by going to the drill mode. When you start and stop in drill mode it asks for the yardage completed, so I just added it in.
The second time I took the watch for a swim, I did a mixed IM and sprint practice. This time it missed counting two separate 25 sprints for some reason. I think maybe I did not wait long enough for the watch to realize I had stopped before pushing the pause button to note the change of an interval. I also noticed on four of the five 100 IMs that I did that the watch thought I was swimming freestyle when I was actually doing butterfly. I think this might have happened because it was just short 25’s of butterfly and the watch did not have long to interpret my strokes.
I took the watch out for a long course swim today and it counted every meter I swam without a problem. It was interesting to look at the downloaded information and see the difference in my efficiency scores with short course and long course swims.
I did notice that Garmin made some software upgrades to the watch prior to releasing it. During my initial trial at Master’s Nationals, the watch did not display the stroke type. Garmin added that as an option to the customized field you can program the watch to display.
After my swims I was able to wirelessly download the information from the watch to the computer without too much problem. The first time I had to download two different add ons before the watch would download the info and upload it to Garmin Connect, but once that was taken care of it was pretty easy. It was very interesting being able to see all of the info that the Garmin Swim captures. I was able to see my distance and total time for each interval. My average time per 100. My Swolf, stroke rate, and efficiency scores were also displayed. The graphic representations of the data is also interesting.
Overall my recommendation would be to pick up a Garmin Swim if you can. It makes counting laps much easier, especially if your mind tends to wander on longer swims like mine. The data it captures can be used to analyze your swims and work on being more efficient. The minor problems were no big deal and I think will work themselves out once I figure out the best ways to utilize the watch.