Will Swim.com ever support Open Water Swimming?

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.

5 thoughts on “Will Swim.com ever support Open Water Swimming?

  1. Julie, thank you again for the information pertaining to the heuristics of your app. As I indicated earlier, I have been using the SwimSense watch, original version, for several years. It continues to work but the watch band has been thru several ad hoc surgeries, and the USB contacts have to be handled very carefully.

    Regarding the stroke identification, the watch consistently sees my freestyle as breast stroke. The new Swimsense Live did the same thing. Of course, in my opinion, especially by interval, even had I swum medleys, since I know in what order I swim them, I never felt the need for stroke identification to be so important.

    What I did find of immense importance, need I say again, is the ability to see, following each interval, a readout of average strokes per length, average stroke rate, and pace.

    When I get home and study the results from the database, Swimsense provides
    a set of colorful graphs per interval, showing these metrics BY LAP.

    I am an aging swimmer and recognize that each year I get slower, however, these metrics show me whether I am improving as an efficient swimmer. When the graph by lap showing Stroke rate closely correlates with the curve for PACE, I know that I did good. Of course strokes per length as a result of PACE is also another measure of efficient swimming, and there’s SWolf, another metric for that.

    Efficiency becomes key to better swimming,……forever!

  2. I’d like the option to manually enter an Open Water Swim. The Apple Watch Series 2 will track, using GPS, the swim, time, heart rate, etc, but I can’t enter that into my swim.com account.

    1. Hi Wally-
      Open water swim logging is not currently something Swim.com is set up for and is not something in our plans to add at this time. You can read more about our reasons for this here: http://support.swim.com/hc/en-us/articles/205010819-Can-I-use-Swim-com-for-open-water-swims-

      Swim.com was initially not intended or designed for open water swim recording and while it is not in our immediate or any future plans to add open swim workout records, it is something we are mindful of and could re-evaluate down the road as devices and demand evolve.

  3. I hope you’ll reconsider this decision…

    “As a result of all of these challenges, the sales and use of wearables to track open water swimming has been extremely limited.”

    The Garmin devices that can do this sell quite well, based on all the swims I see on Strava … for my swim last Tuesday, there were 30 people crossing the lake with wearables, based on the Strava flybys. Even if all the metrics aren’t there, simply adding the yardage would be very nice.

  4. Hi,
    I’d just like add my vote for open water support. My swimovate watch has open water mode (albeit it counts strokes and compares against a calibration swim with a known distance to figure out distance –so not as accurate as GPS). –But still, its something. It would be nice just to be able to manually enter a OWS for tracking sake.

    Right now I’m entering it in a pool and indicating OWS in my notes.

    Frankly, I swim Master’s swim practice in the pool (lots a different strokes, kick sets, pulls, drills), so all the precise metrics are invalid anyway. Even if you did still support swimovate, I’d still have to enter manually –watches don’t track those kinds of workouts with any kind of fidelity.

    I guess I’m just looking for a comprehensive distance log. And arguing for some/ many the calculated metrics don’t work for pool swims in the first place. So what’s the harm in adding a OWS button next to the pool button? 🙂

    I realize Swim.com is a free service, so I hope this suggestion in taken in the spirit that it is given -making a good thing a little better…(for me 😉


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