Swim.com’s primary focus up to this point has been on perfecting the app for pool swimmers. The number of wearable devices (and number of swimmers) available for the pool has historically been, and continues to be far greater for pool swimming than for open water swimming. That being said, we remain open to the possibility of developing solutions for open water swimmers in the future, especially once the technology available to support wearables in the open water improves.
Wearables for Open Water Swimming
Open water swimming is a difficult sport to build wearables for. Aside from all of the usual challenges of creating affordable, appealing and functional wearables that are waterproof, tracking distance effectively in the open water requires a reliable GPS signal. Unfortunately, GPS signals cannot be triangulated while the GPS is submerged in the water. This means that manufacturers of wearables for open water either have to place the unit in a location where it is continuously exposed (e.g. the back of the head) or attempt to gain a GPS signal while the unit is above water (like the Apple Watch on the wrist). As a result of all of these challenges, the sales and use of wearables to track open water swimming has been extremely limited.
Apps on the Watch for Open Water
The Swim.com app on the smartwatch utilizes the motion sensors on your watch to collect data about your motion over a short period of time and then analyses it for swimming activity. You can read more about how the Swim.com app works here. For pool swimming, the app relies explicitly on the turns done in the pool not only to count distance, but also to break the workout into reasonable sized chunks to observe stroke patterns and provide all of the other metrics that the Swim.com apps for pool swimming provide.