Unlike land-based sports, tracking progress in a pool has long been a challenge for swimmers as technology usually does not like getting its feet (or any other part of it) wet. A clear substitute, of course, is to mentally count your lengths in a swimming pool, but this is far from accurately analysing your fitness in the water.

Fortunately, the sport technology market has recently taken the plunge into the waterproof world, and has created some incredible devices for swimmers of all kinds. But, before we delve into these, first let’s first ask – which swim tracker is best for me?

Each swimmer is different. Fact. But whether you’re swimming to improve fitness, to lose weight, keep fit, or simply to enjoy yourself, tracking your progress will help keep you… Well, on track!

With this in mind, it’s good to compare products that fit your goals, budget, and potential usage. For instance, will you be swimming in both a pool and open water? Will you be diving to great depths? Do you want a device that can track fitness on both land and water?

 

The best tracking devices for swimmers 2017

 

  1. Garmin Vivoactive HR

Garmin has long since been at the forefront of marine technology, and their waterproof wearable range are a clear reflection of this. Whilst they have one device that is solely specialised for swimming – the Garmin Swim – the majority of their devices cater for a whole range of sport activities. Of these, the vivoactive ® HR is largely recognised as one of the best (if not the best) swimming tracking device on the market.

With a beautiful, high-resolution touchscreen and broad range of GPS-enabled software, you don’t require a phone connection to kick-start this device. You can, though, easily set up smart notifications and coaching from the Garmin Connect app when paired with your smartphone.

To name a few of its cool in-pool features: Total and interval distance, pace, stroke count, stroke type, interval count (a.k.a break time), swimming efficiency with SWOLF software (time plus number of strokes to swim a pool length), alongside a detailed analysis post-workout.

Want to know more? Have a look at Garmin’s wearable device range

  • Price: £239.99
  • Waterproof rating: 5 ATM (50 meters)
  • Battery life: 8 days (13 hours using GPS)
  • Location usage: In-door and open water swimming

 

 

  1. Apple Watch (series 2)

Of all the swimming tracking devices, Apple has probably nailed the best-looking device. Similar to the Garmin Vivoactive HR, it can track a broad variety of sport activities including swimming and is highly customisable and compatible with a smartphone.

Apple’s swimming app is simple, easy to use and can track pool and open water swimming, distance covered, lengths, average page, and can distinguish stroke style. It also provides you with a tidy summary post-workout in the app, although the metrics are not as advanced as the Vivoactive HR. Not to fear though! There are some great third-party swimming apps that can be downloaded to get that real in-depth analysis (excuse the pun…)

  • Price: £369
  • Waterproof rating: 5 ATM (50 meters)
  • Battery life: 8 hours (when doing sports)
  • Location usage: In-door and open water swimming

 

 

  1. TomTom Spark 3

Although it is slightly bulky and has no colour display, the TomTom Spark 3 is still a good competitor with the Vivoactive HR and the Series 2 given its cost. It boasts a range of multi-sport modes, and is really motivational when swimming. It allows you to break down the swim into various sets/sessions of differing effort levels and will give a buzz every time you need to switch a stroke or power in the pool. It also has a great ‘Goal’ mode that shows you how far into a workout you are, and will buzz when you surpass expectations.

TomTom Spark 3 can record your swim duration, average speed, number of lengths, SWOLF, number of strokes and calorie count. Unfortunately, the device’s drawbacks include its inability to identify stroke, a slight lag when turning in the pool, and less analytics within the TomTom MySports app. However, overall a very popular and practical device that’ll keep you improving your swimming prowess and working towards that perfect summer bod.

  • Price: £119.99
  • Waterproof rating: 4 ATM (40 meters)
  • Battery life: 3 weeks (11 hours for GPS use)
  • Location usage: In-door and open water swimming

 

 

  1. Fitbit flex 2

The sleek, slender design of the Fitbit flex 2 is all about keeping things basic. With only a few LED lights glowing to show that it’s working, this bit of tech may be perfect for you if you find display screens distracting and fancy wearing something more subtle in the pool. The SmartTrack software can also automatically detect when you’ve started swimming, so there’s no messing about. It’s just get in, and get going!

Notorious for their influence in the fitness-tracking world, this is Fitbit’s first swim-friendly device and is aimed at the entry-level crowd. The device does not have very advanced metrics, but can fundamentally tell you the calories burned, duration, distance, and can distinguish between different strokes. It is important to note that, if you’re not a strong swimmer, the SmartTrack software may struggle at clearly defining these though, and the inability to start and stop a session is likely to reduce the accuracy in analysing a workout.

Nonetheless, combined with the Fibtbit easy-to-use app, this reasonably-priced piece of tech is sure to be a winner if you strive for simplicity in the fitness-tracking world. Although swimming does not contribute to step count, so if you’re competitive with peers in this field, you may want to do some additional dancing in the changing room.

  • Price: £79.99
  • Waterproof rating: 5 ATM (50 meters)
  • Battery life: 5 days
  • Location usage: In-door and open water swimming

 

 

  1. Moov Now

A very unique looking piece of kit, Moov Now is similar to the Fitbit flex 2 in going for simplicity whilst monitoring a range of activities. So, although the lack of screen prevents instant feedback, the accompanying app is perfect to log in to and feel the full effects of that post-workout glow.

Given it has hit the <£50 mark, Moov Now is impressive in providing data on lap time, turn time, type of stoke, average pace, and offering a detailed breakdown of every length. It even gives suggestions on how you can improve your time! The main drawback is that the activity tracking data is quite basic, especially when you compare to Vivoactive HR, and it can take a few minutes to transfer the information from the device to your smartphone app. However, its versatility, elegant style, lowered cost, and helpful feedback are probably more than enough to get you Moov’in.

Moov have also released Moov HR, an embedded swim cap that will automatically sync your heart rate to the Moov app.

  • Price: £59.99
  • Waterproof rating: 0.3 ATM (3 meters)
  • Battery life: 6 months
  • Location usage: In-door and open water swimming

 

 

  1. Poolmate 2

If you are looking for more of a simple and ‘stand-alone’ kind of swimming tracker, look no further. Swimovate’s Poolmate 2, which has no app or wireless uploading ability of any sort, is resolutely old-school. It records duration, efficiency, distance, speed, calories burned, counts laps, and records individual sets and total session data. It also works in open water, stores over 50 sessions for recall and it has an incredible 2 year battery life.

Given how integrated smart phones are in day-to-day life, it is understandable that the Poolmate 2 may not be for everyone. With this in mind, Swimovate recently released the Poolmate Plus which, for an extra £20, has all the features of the Poolmate 2 with an additional ability to download swim data to smart phones and computers. This is either via Near Field Communication technology (i.e. holding your watch near a smart phone) or by using the provided ‘download pod’ which can be plugged into a USB port.

  • Price: £70
  • Waterproof rating: 5 ATM (50 meters)
  • Battery life: 2 years
  • Location usage: In-door and open water swimming

 

 

  1. XMetrics FIT

Contrastingly to most swimming trackers that can be worn on wrist, ankle, or attached to a belt, the XMetrics FIT is totally different in being positioned on the back of the head. This is as XMetrics believes that this location is the most solidal part of body when swimming, and is therefore the best to record biomechanical data. The FIT also comes with a set of headphones and a choice of 6 different groups of feedback to really spur you on during training, with no need to stop or wait until the end of the session to review stats.

XMetrics FIT can measure swim duration, length count, distance, pace, strokes per length, SWOLF software and calories burned. XMetrics I scompatible with smart phones, and the software and web platforms provide an advanced post-swim data analysis, which expand even further with the XMetric Pro. Given the non-intrusive design and advanced capabilities of this tech, you really can see why their slogan is ‘Designed by swimmers, for swimmers’.

  • Price: £160
  • Waterproof rating: 5 ATM (50 meters)
  • Battery life: 6 hours
  • Location usage: Indoor and open water swimming

 

If none of these devices float your boat, there are still plenty more on the market. We’d recommend looking at the following:

 

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