Entries for next years Great Swim series are open already. Christmas is not a great time to start contemplating squeezing into an overly snug wetsuit, the annual quality street box is already half empty and the strawberry creams are not improving my silhouette.
Christmas is a time for trying out new gadgets though so it’s time I reviewed my latest toy.
I was sent a swimming watch from Swimovate to try out for a week. It promised to count all my laps for me, freeing my mind to concentrate on higher level issues such as “what should I cook for tea?” and “did I remember to put any Stella in the fridge?”
It does more than that of course, storing my lap history and providing historical data such as distance, stroke rate, calories and efficiency.
It was the counting bit that appealed most to me though. I am always surprised at how inept I am at counting lengths. I start well enough, reciting 1, 1, 1 in my head til I reach the end and turn. Of course I then move on to 2, 2, 2 cos I’m bright and can count but I’m also easily bored so I start adding variety like 2, 2 and the next lap will be 3, next is 3, next is 3. If course when I get to 3 I think blimey that number is familiar I’ve already counted it. Then I have to go through the odd even calculation and match it to the direction of my travel. Basically I never get as far as 10 laps before I’ve stressed myself out and felt the need to re-enrole in kindergarten.
So it’s a lap counter, but a pretty good one. Beyond the first button press you don’t have to bother again until it’s time to get out of the pool. The motion sensors apparently pick up on the drift portion of the stroke at the change round. It will pick up tumble turns and your more sedate stop and turn technique. Provided you don’t change strokes within a length it will supposedly maintain accuracy.
I did my best to fool it but it was 100% accurate up to 16 lengths, beyond that I’m sure the watch maintained its accuracy but I didn’t and decided to just free my mind of the counting. Swimming with a blank mind is really rather freeing, it feels so much more like running.
It’s given me an efficiency rating of 73 which equates to below average which I suppose will be about right. They measure efficiency in terms of distance covered per stroke and I’ve always felt that I swim on the spot anyway.
It would be quite useful to monitor efficiency gains if you were trying to work on your stroke but I didn’t get to play with it long enough to see how responsive it was to minor improvements.
The battery is supposed to last for 1 year after which you have to send it back to the company to be replaced. I suppose that shouldn’t be a big problem provided they have a quick turnaround.
You can’t currently use it as a distance monitor for outdoor swims because it multiplies pool length by laps but I have picked up on some internet murmurings that suggest that might be about to change.
It could do with an overhaul of the user interface, moving through the history screens required me to pull out the instruction leaflet twice but all in all it’s a pretty good adition to the sporting gadgetry world and costs around £69 from Swimovate.
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