Apple Watch 2 Not Suitable For Swim Intervals


In trying to determine if the new Apple Watch 2 it might meet my aquatic needs, I’ve found Apple’s marketing and support pages largely devoid of detailed information. Fortunately, I’ve been able to turn up Apple Watch 2 details by querying a number of reviewers and via Apple Insider’s swim-centric overview. And, although Apple Watch looks to be a solid solution for those for swim continuously, my enthusiasm has been tempered:

Where the Apple Watch’s swim tracking starts to fall short is for people looking to do more varied swim workouts based around swim sets and focused exercises like stroke drills and kicking […] The Apple Watch’s pace calculation also becomes less useful if you’re doing interval-based sets, as it’s simply going to tell you the interval you were going on instead of your actual swimming pace unless you manually pause the workout as you finish each repeat and resume before starting the next one.

I backed into swimming about a year and a half ago after my orthopedist suggested I stop running. Forever. I still consider myself a novice and my amazingly boring workouts are limited to freestyle/crawl (devoid of flip turns). To mix things up and push myself a bit harder, instead of swimming straight through, I currently tackle 200 yard intervals on the 4-minute mark. Something my rudimentary Garmin Swim (circa 2012) handles with aplomb (as shown below) — and a nice upgrade from the SCUBA slate I started with.


As I also wear a Fitbit Alta (sometimes. when I remember. when it’s charged.), I figured it’d be nice to settle on a single wearable (that includes Bluetooth) to handle swimming, step tracking, and perhaps provide other fun functionality. Alas, the original Garmin Vivoactive’s screen is unusable, the Garmin Fenix line is too fitness-oriented (given my limitations, for the price) and the Apple Watch 2 doesn’t track swim intervals… without some sort of third-party app (of varying quality, unknown support situation, if they’ll begin charging). Other options that track strokes, like the Misfit Shine and Fitbit Flex 2, don’t actually have screens and seem entirely unsuitable for swimming – despite the sales pitch. Guess I’ll continuing slogging through my swims with an archaic watch while awaiting a hardware refresh from Garmin or a software update from Apple.

8 thoughts on “Apple Watch 2 Not Suitable For Swim Intervals”

  1. Thought you were going to say it leaks. Shows you what I know about swimming.

    Along those lines, got my new iPhone 7+. Like you, I can’t find any concrete evidence on Apple’s website. Can I take this thing out on the rain on my bike rides? Can I amaze my kids by running it under the tap?

    I wanna be like Lil Wayne. (I think that’s who it is in those horrid Samsung commercials). Though sounds like keeping something around to douse those flames might be a good idea…..

  2. The iPhone 7 is an IP67 device, so it is completely resistant to dust and splashes of water, and can withstand being submerged in water for up to 30 minutes at 1m depth.

    So yes, you can strap it to your bike in the rain, and yes you can run water over it (as long as the water isn’t pressurized… don’t powerwash the thing).

    The iPhone 7 is *not* rated for any contact with salt water. Salt water will ruin your device.

    Apple has a TV add now that shows an iPhone 7 being used on a bike in heavy rain. You’re all good there. Just note that even though the iPhone is rated to IP67 standards, the Apple still does not cover water damage. So if you drop it in a deep pool, you’re out of luck.

  3. My mother-in-law has replaced at least one iPhone due to liquid damage via spilled diet coke in her car cup holder… where the iPhone was resting. So she’s banking on the new phone’s water resistance. Although soda may be as corrosive as salt water. ;) I’m still trying to avoid water – why tempt fate. But am happy to have one less physical button – my iPhone 6s home button failed last spring and had similar with the power button on a 4 or 5.

  4. I’m extremely happy with my Garmin Fenix 3. It serves all of the needs you listed, and then some, including pool and open watrr seims. It’s definitely for the more fitness-focused user though; different focus than the Apple Watch 2 I got for my wife, who is a casual runner only.

  5. I love the Fenix 3, just wish the wrist hr would work in the pool. I use it for running and cycling and swimming. I still don’t use a bunch of the features on it and yeah it’s expensive

  6. If you’re just doing a single stroke the app from works well. You have to set the pool length, which is the basis for all of it’s calculations.

    The program has a lot of potential, but not reached yet, as it has a lot of difficulty identify various strokes as claimed (I’ve yet to get it to recognize breaststroke) and things like kicking drills will just show as rest time.

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