Thursday, August 23, 2012

Swimovate PoolMate Pro review

Much like when I learnt to run, learning to swim has been a case of building up the distance rather than concentrating on speed.

I eventually got past the point where I was losing count of the number of lengths that I had done and so needed some way of keeping a tally.  The first thing I tried was a cheap finger counter like the one on the right.  It was about £10 on ebay and did the trick for a while.  Eventually though, probably because of swimming pool gunk or rust, the button started to stick and I wasn't sure if my presses were registering.

Looking at other options available, at the time it was a choice between the Swimsense by Finnis and the PoolMate Pro by Swimovate.  I read a few reviews and settled on the PoolMate Pro.  Opting for the PoolMate Pro versus the standard PoolMate meant that I got the ability to use the software to record and analyse my swims.

PoolMate Pro Software
The software is pretty good, it keeps a record of the length, time, rest time.  It analyses your progress over time and splits your swim into different sets if that is what you did.  It also measures your efficiency, stroke rate and stroke length.  All good stuff.

a swim session consisting of different sets

Data from the sets in the session above

Using the watch to record your swims is really easy.  You press the same button to start, stop or pause the workout.  You can review the swim, and previous swims, on the watch itself but this is a bit more fiddly and I did manage to accidentally delete a session when I was doing this.

The watch is hard to view when you are swimming.  If you do want to look to see how many lengths of a pool you are at, you pretty much need to stop to do so.

The watch syncs with the computer via an infra-red connection.  You place the watch on a pod once you have clicked the upload button on the software.  I found this to be a bit fiddly and it took a few attempts to get right the first time.  The software was also a bit of a pain to install.  Once it was set up, the watch syncs pretty well on most occasions.

I am really happy with the watch.  I have been able to keep a log of my swims and it is much easier, and in greater detail than doing so manually or by using something like Dailymile.  It does very occasionally seem to miss a length.  I only know this because I have ended up with an odd number of lengths despite starting and finishing at the same end.

I see that Garmin have released a swimming watch and also that the forerunner 910xt records swims.  These were not available when I bought my watch and I would be very tempted to go for the 910xt if I were buying a watch now, particularly as I am now a triathlete.  I also like the Garmin Connect system and it would be great to have all this data recorded in one place.

Records details of swims
Good software, lots of data for comparison
Cheap compared to alternatives

Sometimes issues with syncing
Occasionally misses a length
Garmin have something that does more

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