When I started swimming on a more regular basis I quickly came to realise I missed the tracking that I was afforded by Runkeeper when running and cycling. I struggled to count laps and remember timing while trying to concentrate on what I was doing in terms of technique and breathing.
As with the Polar FT1 watch I bought this one about a year ago – so have put a few laps on it.
This watch does just what I need it to – it tells me how many laps of the pool I have completed and how long it took me to do them. It also gives feedback on your stroke rate and efficiency – though I haven’t really made best use of these metrics as of yet.
Usage is simple – just hit the start button at the beginning and end of your rep and the watch just records the laps as you do them and logs the associated swimming time. When you finish a rep it shows you how long you have rested – so you never have an excuse to rest for too long!
The main downside to the watch is that it ran out of batteries after about 12 or so months. This is as advertised and this might seem a long time, but bear in mind that it costs you £18.49 plus P&P (so probably more like £20) to get a battery replaced by the manufacturers. Also, I hadn’t been swimming all that often over that period of time, having only started swimming consistently twice a week since May 2012, so I don’t know how well it will last if you are ultra-regular to the pool.
If you have a reputable watch servicing provider that can do the battery change and pressure test then that may be a cheaper / quicker option for you – just don’t change the battery yourself as you’ll probably damage the seal and you’ll never be confident it’s water tight.
The battery replacement service turn around was not more than a few days, which was good – but I think they just send you a new watch, so make sure you have recorded all your data out of it already – because you won’t be getting it back! Fortunately I assumed that it wouldn’t keep the data.
Accuracy of the watch is pretty good – though I have had a few swims where it has added an extra lap to my swim. This doesn’t happen often though.
Getting the data
Recording the data from the watch is a manual effort – but isn’t too difficult, just takes time. The logs are easy to access. You can get the more expensive Pool Mate Pro if you want digital upload.
Overall the pool mate isn’t a bad watch, I probably would upgrade in the future to one I could transfer the data off – in which case I think the Garmin Swim would clinch it due to the user replaceable battery.
Overall – 7.5/10