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129 of 131 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Pretty terrific, especially for version "1.0"
I swim 3 times a week on a masters swim team. I pre-ordered the Garmin Swim ("GS") and received it around August 1. I have logged 6 workouts with the GS, and overall, I am impressed. It is easy to set up (most importantly, to tell it how long your pool is), and easy to sync to your computer. The reports are pretty exhaustive and provide tons of information about what you...
Published on August 11, 2012 by E. Lane

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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Great Idea, poor execution
I bought this hoping that it would accurately record my laps in the pool. First of all, my unit leaked. That is it got water inside it on the first swim.

I haven't had a chance to return it to garmin yet, but what a pain.

Additionally it seems to think my freestyle stroke is a backstroke, that I go 525 meters instead of 400, that I swam a total of...
Published on August 24, 2012 by Thomas J. Munn


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129 of 131 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Pretty terrific, especially for version "1.0", August 11, 2012
By 
E. Lane (Chicago, IL USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Garmin Swim Watch with Garmin Connect (Electronics)
I swim 3 times a week on a masters swim team. I pre-ordered the Garmin Swim ("GS") and received it around August 1. I have logged 6 workouts with the GS, and overall, I am impressed. It is easy to set up (most importantly, to tell it how long your pool is), and easy to sync to your computer. The reports are pretty exhaustive and provide tons of information about what you did and how efficiently you did it. (By the way, the GS is not a heart-rate monitor, although it does tell you how many calories you've burned.) I am writing this review because I've discovered a couple of things about the product that I didn't understand before I started using it.

1. The GS tracks your distance by noting turns/flips and a strong glide after the turn. If you start your stroke too early after a turn, it will sometimes miss the fact that you completed a length, and your total length swum for that interval will be off. Thus, it is a good idea to keep track of the length of each set as you go--in effect, counting with the help of the GS rather than believing everything it tells you.

2. If you do your strokes correctly, the GS is quite good at recognizing whether you are doing fly, back, breast, or free. If you are sloppy, the GS can get confused. Unlike some other reviewers, I have not had any significant problems with the GS accurately tracking my progress as long as I swim carefully around turns. Once, on a swim of 5525 yards, it missed 50 yards (2 lengths)--which I figured was better than I would've done if counting in my head. :-)

3. You can set the GS for drills, but I don't think there's a way to set it for kicking. While understandable considering the way the GS tracks your distance, this is also frustrating, since normally when I kick I don't do flip turns--so the GS doesn't log this mileage. I have to mentally add in any kicking sets after the workout to get an accurate total distance for the swim. Which brings up my next point--

4. I wish there were a way to override the total distance logged by the device, via the GS website!!! I really *love* the fact that the GS tells you how far you've swum in each week (right on the watch face--very motivating!), but it would be so, so, SO much better if that number were accurate.

I would strongly recommend the GS for any swimmers who want info about their workouts and the motivation of "workout reports" for each swim. The GS is easy to use, times your swimming and rest intervals, and does lots more. I hope that if Garmin comes up with fixes for the issues mentioned above, they will provide them free of charge to those of us who believed from the get-go and pre-ordered the cool Garmin Swim!
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42 of 43 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Learn its quirks and you will be very happy together, December 12, 2013
By 
S. Hokanson (Harrisonburg, VA United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Garmin Swim Watch with Garmin Connect (Electronics)
I own the Garmin Forerunner 305 for my running activities and love it, so when I made the move to the pool, I wanted the same sort of device for swimming. While it is a bit quirky, once you get to know it, the Garmin Swim works very well. My device has firmware version 3.6 (the latest release at this point, released May 2013).

I am not a good swimmer by any means. I swim for fitness using a swimmer's snorkel most of the time, and have honed my skills using YouTube as a coach. (That is to say that my form is nowhere near perfect and my speeds are nowhere near competitive). I do not do "proper" turns at the wall. I'm working on learning how to open-turn, but most of the time, I stop and the end, turn around, and then push off. I think I am probably a good example of a non-perfect swimmer using this device. While some reviews stated that you really need good form and proper mechanics for the Garmin Swim to work properly, I haven't found that to be completely true. After swimming with the device 5 hours a week for 9 weeks, here is what I do to make sure it tracks my strokes properly:

1. Don't change anything mid-length during a lap. Don't change strokes. Don't pause mid-length to look at the watch. Don't scratch your nose mid-length. Don't adjust your goggles in the middle of the pool. Deviation from the stroke seems to trigger a new length in the device, so it will mis-count if you do anything other than swim while moving the length of the pool.

Remember, this device doesn't have GPS or even a distance tracker. It just senses movement and acceleration, and based on the distance that you program into the watch for the length of your pool, it calculates a new lap or length every time it senses a change in direction. It doesn't actually measure anything but time.

2. Make a solid push-off from the wall. It doesn't seem to matter if you do a "proper" turn, or even if you stop at the end of the pool to adjust your goggles. As long as you make a clear push off from the wall, the accelerometer will assume that you've changed direction and started a new length. I don't always pause the watch when I stop to catch a few breaths at the end of the pool, and most of the time I just stop, stand up, turn around, breathe a bit, then push off again. As long as I push off strong when I resume movement, it works.

One quirk the watch does seem to have is not always displaying the current interval correctly. Every time you pause the watch, you start a new interval. The watch then displays your current interval distance while keeping a running total of the entire swim session. Occasionally (on average, once during each 1750 yd swim), it doesn't seem to notice that I've completed another length of the pool. I know this because I'm in a 25 yard long pool, so returning to the home side of the pool will always be on a 50 or 100 yard increment. If I get to the home end and it says 25 or 75 yards, I know it hasn't yet registered the completion of that last length. The next time I hit pause, the watch will say, "Oh! Now she's done with that length!" (yes, I just anthropomorphized the Garmin Swim) and the total distance will update to the correct amount. Like I said - it's not actually measuring how far you swim. It's just detecting changes in direction, and counting each change as one length (then multiplying the number of lengths by the programmed length of your pool). If it seems to have missed the end of a length, it will update itself the next time you pause the device. You also don't have to pause it immediately when you notice it to be off. Just finish your interval and pause when you normally would. (I usually pause after 200yd intervals and drink some bottled water, then switch strokes).

The only time this seems to be a problem is if you prefer to swim straight-through without pausing the device. Then, the current distance will appear off, and missed end lengths could become cumulative if it happens more than once. You would be able to figure out where this happened afterwards in the data (by finding the double-long times in your lengths), but of course, this is not ideal (and one of the reasons I'm going with a 4 star rating instead of 5). I have gotten into the habit of using intervals to avoid this problem.

As for the data, the stroke detection is almost always accurate for me. I swim breaststroke and freestyle (front crawl). One thing I noticed is that if I wear the watch very tight on my wrist, it is more prone to detect my stroke incorrectly. Now, I wear it so that there is a little bit of movement on my wrist (just one notch looser), and it detects strokes just about flawlessly.

The current interval number is large and easy to read in the pool. Sometimes I prefer to see the total yardage for the swim, so I made a custom display that puts the total distance in the large number. (Otherwise, the cumulative total for the swim is shown in smaller numbers along the bottom of the display, and isn't as easy to see at a quick glance). You can get to your custom displays mid-swim very easily by cycling through them with the blue swim button.

I have the data set to automatically download from the device when in range of my computer, and automatically upload to the Garmin Connect web site. It has worked flawlessly (as long as I have the Ant USB stick plugged in).

Overall, I really do like this device. If Garmin can improve end-of-length detection, I would definitely call it a 5-star device. It beats the finger-ring lap counter I was using (though that is an inexpensive device that is great for what it does). I just prefer having more data instantly available to me. I'm also not good at remembering to push the lap count button on that lap counter device, so the automation of the Garmin is a great perk.
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45 of 48 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Finally able to track swim workouts, November 20, 2012
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Garmin Garmin Swim - Men's
As a competitive high school swimmer, the only metrics I knew at the end of a workout were total time (including rest) and total yardage. It's hard enough to track a 20×100 yard set to remember individual lengths or an average pace. When I was younger, I depended on my coach to design workouts to improve my stamina and speed. Over the past few years, I began swimming on my own and did a lot of guess work. As soon as I heard of the Garmin Swim, I placed an order on Amazon and began tracking my progress. While I still need to get better at planning swim workouts, I have a much better understanding of my pace, distance, and stroke rates. With the ability to track completely new metrics, the Garmin Swim watch is one of my most useful triathlon training tools.

One new metric included with the watch is your SWOLF score. SWOLF is your swim golf score and is calculated by adding the time to swim a length and the number of strokes for that length. Lowering your SWOLF is done by increasing efficiency - either by swimming faster with the same number of strokes or by swimming the same speed with less strokes. As a triathlete, it's important to conserve energy during the swim, not thrash around, and get to the bike with plenty of energy. SWOLF has allowed me to see instant feedback on my efficiency during my workouts.

I added a custom view that shows average SWOLF for my total swim and average SWOLF of my last rep. I can see if I'm progressively becoming more or less efficient throughout a practice.

Pros:
Track every length, number of strokes, time, SWOLF
Track your swim time vs. rest time
Upload data easily to Garmin Connect and view progress over time
Very reliable and fun to use - keeps tabs of overall yards or meters swam per week
Cheap compared to most Garmin watches
Slim and comfortable

Cons:
Not an all-in-one watch for triathletes - it's a secondary watch to your running/biking GPS watch
Not much customization in the screens, need to jump between them to get info between sets
Watch is comfortable once on, but pulls on arm hair as you adjust the strap
No heart rate tracking
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51 of 56 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding!, September 2, 2012
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Garmin Swim Watch with Garmin Connect (Electronics)
I did a considerable amount of research before choosing this watch... And have to say it paid out. I am swimming at least an hour every day and that accounts for MANY laps in a 20meter pool, and counting gets tedious after a while... This watch solved the problem beautifully. Counts laps ( all the times i counted with the watch was 100% accurate) detects swim style (free, butterfly, etc), runs detailed analysis on your swim, and via garmin connect! Allows you to integrate it to other sports, creates goals, analyzes swim efficiency... Net, a great tool! 2 things to make it perfect... Light, and a more versatile chronograph.... Note, pools need to be at least 20meters for accurate readings... If you are a frequent, long distance swimmer you will love the watch!
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23 of 26 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent device but not perfect, September 7, 2012
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Garmin Swim Watch with Garmin Connect (Electronics)
I bought the Garmin Swim since I constantly lost track when trying to count lengths in the pool and figured there had to be a better way. The Garmin Swim is certainly better and it works very well. For the first many swims, I checked the watch at the end of each length and I noted that it sometimes counted an extra length. It would have been easy to see at least part of that since it sometimes ended up with the wrong number at my start point (e.g. - 825 when I had completed an even number of 25 yard lengths). I uploaded the data to Garmin Connect and things got even more strange since I could see the watch thought some of my lengths were back stroke, for instance, and I had not done any. So, it is somewhat flawed but after many weeks of using and checking it, I finally decided the small errors were certainly nothing to worry about and I use the watch all the time now when I swim.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best watch for lap swimming, September 2, 2012
By 
Techbee "Techbee" (Westchester, NY USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Garmin Garmin Swim - Men's
This watch is perfect for lap swimming. I had previously owned the Swimsense watch from Finis, which is a good watch. But the Garmin Swim is much better. Key features:

1. Accurately counts laps. I've been using it since it came out and it has been 100% accurate. I'm not an elite swimmer -- you don't have to swim like Phelps for this watch to be accurate. However, a steady stroke and strong kick off the wall do help. Finis was also very accurate.

2. Easy to read and use. The screen is large and clear, the menus and buttons are incredibly intuitive, and the screen inverts (light numbers on dark background) when you start timing, so you know the timer has started. I also find the weekly total on the screen motivating. Finis screen was a little hard to read.

3. Wireless sync to useful website. The watch tracks stroke count, time for each length, efficiency, etc. The website has nice tools to make this info useable. I'm a strong believer in you improve what you measure, so having all this data has really helped me.

4. Can be worn as a regular watch. Finis had to be charged daily and didn't look like a regular watch.

In total, I love this watch. Highly recommend it and don't understand some of the low reviews it has received.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Updated review from 2-star to 5-star, October 21, 2013
By 
R. Miller (San Francsico, CA United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Garmin Swim Watch with Garmin Connect (Electronics)
***UPDATE--I've updated my review from 2-stars to 5-stars, please scroll to the bottom for update***

The form factor of this watch is terrific. The menu's are easy to navigate and make sense. The watch is even kinda good looking.

But it's a total failure. Dang. I wanted to like it so much.

My workout vs ==> what the watch claimed.

500 yd Warm up ==> 325 yards
10x100 swim
100 ==> 75
100 ==> 50
100 ==> 75
100 ==> 75
100 ==> 50
100 ==> 100 (hooray, it got it right ONCE)
etc.

You get the picture. About a 40% failure rate.

I'm a former collegiate swimmer. I don't have a mushy stroke or weak turns. This watch will be great once they get the accelerometer updated to work with flip turns. I only gave it two stars based on it's superior menu system and it's potential if they can sort out the distance errors in a future firmware update.

***UPDATE!!!***

I managed to update the watch from firmware version 3.0 to version 3.6. The firmware notes claim that Garmin "significantly improved" lap counting accuracy. They're NOT kidding. I took it out for a workout today:

What I did ==> What the watch claimed I did.

500 warm up ==> 500 m
10x50 sprints ==> 10x50 m
10x100 medium pace ==> 10x100 m
500 cool down ==> 500 m

2500 total ==> 2500 m

Not one error! The watch counted every lap correctly. I am now a very happy consumer. I'm so glad I didn't return this watch prior to updating the firmware. This watch is a real home-run for Garmin.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Swimming is fun again - Lap counting and more..., October 15, 2012
By 
This review is from: Garmin Swim Watch with Garmin Connect (Electronics)
I got the Garmin swim for my birthday. I swim in the pool every day and I am too lazy to count laps. This function is performed 100% reliable so this gadget is a great help to me already. The automatic detection of swimming styles works surprisingly well. Fast front crawl is occasionally recognized as a dolphin. Same thing happens with slow dolphin being occationally recognized as front crawl. Backstroke and breaststroke are 100% recognized correctly!

I train twice a week with a swim team and here is where the Garmin Swim shows its full potential: Even drills such as kick or one-arm freestyle can be captured. You have to specify beforehand that a drill session is coming up, then start the clock and after the drill manually enter the distance. This also works embedded in normal swimming style segments. Genious! The evaluation on the computer gives you a comprehensive picture: swimming time overall and per lane, break times, style and many other details.

Transfer to the computer works automatically. Simply place it in the vicinity of the USB antenna. The computer checks if new training data is available, and downloads it.

On the wrist the device does not interfere with swimming.

Could be better:
- I would like to manually edit the drill sessions in my computer i.e. write what kind of drill it was. That would give me the opportunity to compare sessions
- The same applies to occasionally incorrectly recognized swimming styles. It would be great if you could manually correct them
- At my age (50) eyes become weaker. With goggles on I know often do not see the digits on the display. That is annoying, especially in the learning phase. In the meantime, I know the functions and button pressing sequences by heart.

Conclusion: It's a fun gadget I do not want to miss any more !
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Incredible swimming watch!, July 31, 2012
This review is from: Garmin Swim Watch with Garmin Connect (Electronics)
I've used it now for a week and it counted 380 lengths on a 50 meter pool very accurately. It is very easy to use and read, and does exactly what it was designed for. Provides plenty of useful statistics and has many, many features. Love the week distance displayed below the time and date and also the inverted display when timer is paused since it prevents inadvertently swimming without recording. The ability to replace the battery yourself without having to send it to the manufacturer is a huge plus. It will also download using Garmin connect plenty of detailed data about each length, like swim time, number of strokes, average pace, etc. This watch will keep you motivated, it will push you to swim faster and perform harder!
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Great Idea, poor execution, August 24, 2012
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Garmin Swim Watch with Garmin Connect (Electronics)
I bought this hoping that it would accurately record my laps in the pool. First of all, my unit leaked. That is it got water inside it on the first swim.

I haven't had a chance to return it to garmin yet, but what a pain.

Additionally it seems to think my freestyle stroke is a backstroke, that I go 525 meters instead of 400, that I swam a total of 1250 meters this week when I only swam 700 or so.

The ant interface seems to work well on the mac, but I am so disappointed with this product because of the cost $150.00 with an inaccuracy rating of 25% or more.

Perhaps it works well for 'excellent' swimmers, but for a normal human swimmer like me, I would say 'pass it up'.

Nice try, garmin, but I say this one is a total failure. I will be trying to get a 'working' one and will follow up to see if the new one is any better than the first one.
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Garmin Swim Watch with Garmin Connect
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