Garmin Swim

The pool bores me. But I swim a few days a week during the winter to stay fit. Is there any waterproof gear that can make it more interesting?

Harmin Swin outside gear guy bob parks

Garmin Swim.     Photo: Bob Parks


The Swim has changed my whole relationship to laps. Pre-Swim, I could never keep track of them in a 25-meter pool. This device counts for you, and captures your pace in minutes per 100 meters. It’s motivating to see your times improve, or simply keep a steady pace on an easy day. With the watch, I’ve gotten in a good routine of trying to hit a mile under 33 minutes after a warm-up. At the end of the week, the watch totals my distance and reports trends in pace.

Out of the pool, Swim lets you easily view totals on the watch, or download them to a computer for in-depth analysis. It also traps stroke count and something called swolf, but those metrics are beyond my ken right now. I do miss the accuracy of a GPS sensor (unlike Garmin’s other products, this watch has none), though it wouldn’t work under a roof anyway. Instead, the Swim uses an accelerometer to sense your arm movement. If you stop swimming (say, to field reports of “a strange man”), the device generates errors in your pace and lap count. That said, it keeps me going. $149

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