Thursday, November 26, 2015

Wonders Of Technology: Garmin HRM-Swim

For those who know me more, I am little bit of tech geek, tracking sports and activity is part of my job and I love trying new stuff. I have different reviews piled up for you (fenix 3 vs vívoactive, FR630, vívosmart HR...). But this is so new and so exciting, I had to share :o)

I had my eye on Garmin HRM-Swim (English link, Czech link) ever since it was launched and yesterday I bought it :D Swimming x-mas coming early? Or reward for the weekend 3 km swim ... anyway, it is exiting to have the option of having accurate HR of your swim. Why didn't we have it earlier?  Because the ANT+ or Bluetooth signal has drastically lower distance reach when in the water (basically from many meters down to just few centimeters). There were ways around it with the optical HR monitors, but those had many "but" in the description of use.

Garmin HRM-Swim - How Does It Work?

Well Garmin did not invent a way to go around physical laws. Instead the HRM has an internal memory and stores the activity data inside it and all the data are transferred after you finish your swim and you push the "save" button. However it does not mean that you cannot see your actual heart rate right in the pool. For example when you have the rest interval, when you get your watch closer to your HRM, it gets the signal and shows you the current heart rate. It is not very useful for watching it between the laps as it takes little time, but you can see pretty much at which hear rate you end your interval and you can also adjust the rest interval based on your heart rate.

Heart rate data as seen in the mobile app
And heart rate data in the Garmin Connect web app (link to the file)
Excited that Garmin added the option of overlaying different data (here pace & heart rate)

Garmin HRM-Swim - How Is It Different?

The main difference is that the belt itself is almost not flexible at all as it needs to sit firmly on your chest. It comes with different sizes of additional flexible belt to add and adjust the length (to be able to accommodate tiny girls and huge chested guys and anything in between and above). I was little worried when I unpacked the heart rate monitor as there was the middle sized strap attached to the belt and it was little too big with it and little too tight without it. Fortunately I double checked the added strap and apart of the super huge, there was also the tiny one, that is just perfect for me. I guess I would find this in the user manual, but who reads those, right? :D :D :D

The HRM-Swim has little wider belt than the "normal" Garmin HRM and all of the actual strap (the blue part) is not flexible at all and also covered with layer of adhesive material that makes it stick to your chest. Since only the "prolonging" strap is flexible, it might take little more time to find the right set up for you. You don't want to get your chest too restricted... I heard that it perfectly stays in place even when you dive in the pool, but I did not try that yet.

The three different "additional" straps that give the HRM-Swim little more flexibility

I will update this post as I will get more experience with the HRM-Swim.

Have a great day everyone!!!


  1. I was affraid I didn't see any pink colour in your swim eqipment but your swim goggles saved me :-)

  2. Baru s těmi technickými věcmi byste si rozuměli s Vikim. On má garminy ani nevím jaký model (na triatlon :-)) a rád si prohlíží všechny ty naměřené hodnoty. A nejlíp i moje z mých hodinek :-) Gratuluju ke 3km! To už je pěkné číslo :-)

    1. No to je jasný, že to musí mít Viki všechno pod kontrolou, já mu naprosto rozumím :D :D :D A dííík, teď už mi zbývá "jenom" ty 3 km zrychlit. Přípravu jsem zahájila zodpovědně: dokoupila jsem růžovou desku a oranžový piškot na plavání :D