With the ever-expanding tech industry showing no signs of slowing down, gadgetry is beginning to play a larger and larger role in almost everything we do. In terms of fitness and wellbeing, we can easily and accurately track everything, from our steps to our calories, how many flights of stairs we climb in a day and even our sleeping patterns.
This digital approach to bettering ourselves has contributed to a surge in popularity of wearable technology, a more personal approach than ever before to pushing ourselves farther and faster. For swimmers, smartwatches have proven themselves to be incredibly useful, offering meticulous methods of recording a plethora of metrics including distance, pace and stroke count. The capabilities of waterproof smartwatches are measured by ATM water ratings. ATM stands for atmosphere unit, and one atmosphere unit is equivalent to ten meters of water pressure or higher. We’ve had a look at three watches by Garmin, established leaders in the wearable technology market who prioritise design, quality and value.
1. Garmin Swim
The Garmin Swim is one of the most popular smartwatches on the market, garnering glowing reviews from Tech Radar and Engadget for its lightweight and functional design. It records distance, pace and stroke count as well as offering advanced settings for timed sets and logging drills. The simplicity of the watch is irrefutable; it has only six buttons, automatically detects which stroke you’re using and the battery is user replaceable - though Garmin estimate that it should only need replacing about once a year. After your swim you can upload all of your data to Garmin Connect, a free website which allows you to monitor and analyse your metrics, even comparing against family, friends or fellow swimmers. However, the Garmin Swim does not have smartphone sync capacity, so instead must be synced through a computer. The Garmin Swim has an ATM water rating of five.
2. Garmin vívoactive
vívoactive, winner of the T3 Platinum award and another of Garmin’s smartwatch line, is more of an all-rounder and one of few smartwatches on the market to include GPS tracking support. It pairs with your smartphone to offer social media updates alongside your workout as well as calls and texts. Aside from swimming, it offers a variety of trackable sporting apps including running, biking and golfing. The watch can gauge total and interval distance, calories burned, session averages and overall efficiency. For a little bit of added pressure, friends and family can track your activity via Live Track and all of your information syncs with your smartphone whenever your watch and phone are within thirty metres of each other. You can expect battery life to vary, lasting up to three weeks, though only ten hours whilst in GPS mode. The vívoactive also has an ATM water rating of five .
3. Garmin Forerunner® 920XT
The Garmin Forerunner 920XT has been named the Innovative Product of the Year at the 220 Triathlon Awards for the past two years; this is a watch for for those who mean business. Lightweight and durable, it tracks all aspects of your activity throughout the day, including steps, sleep and calories burned. In terms of swimming, it’s suitable for both pool and open water, capturing detailed metrics including distance, stroke count, pace and stroke rate. You can even set the watch to offer time, distance, calorie or stroke rate alerts to keep you motivated mid-swim. However, similarly to the vívoactive, the Forerunner is a multi-sport device with the capacity to record metrics for cycling and running; perfect for triathletes. The Foreunner has a colour display and a rechargeable lithium battery which lasts on average between twenty four and forty hours depending on settings. With an ATM water rating of five.