Garmin Forerunner 910xt: First impressions of swimming

My Garmin Forerunner 910xt finally arrived yesterday. Win! And it looks awesome. You probably know what they look like, but just in case you don’t, they look like this:

The amount of fields you can choose on the thing is amazing, but instead of whittering on about that, I thought I’d first talk about swimming.

Now, I’m useless at swimming. Why buy the 910xt, you probably are thinking. Well, I’m aiming to do a tri at some point, and since I can already run and cycle, I just need to learn to swim properly. Before Christmas, I had never tried to do anything other than breaststroke, and that I do poorly. I’m a terrible swimmer. But I decided that a tri was the next logical thing to try to keep me in shape, and therefore I need to learn to do the crawl.

I’m therefore attempting to teach myself, with the odd kind word from work colleagues who also go swimming at lunch time, and also from Mr Smooth, which is surprisingly useful. I’ve only been about seven times, so I’m still crap, but you have to start somewhere.

So on to the 910xt. How did it do? Well, not that great. Here’s the data on Garmin Connect:

First, it thinks I did about 5 more lengths than I actually did. Second, it thinks I did backstroke for a while, and it also thought I was resting at a point where I wasn’t. Granted, I rest a lot, but I’m still trying to figure out how to breathe.

Now, the reasons it didn’t do well may be to do with my crap swimming style. I shall therefore have to concentrate more on a smoother style and see how it gets on. Sometimes it correctly identified a length, but on one occasion it thought I had done three lengths when I had merely done one. It also missed a length at one point. Not ideal.

But it’s early days. I suspect there are glitches in the algorithm and I also suspect Garmin might decide to add some options to allow you to tell it, for example, that you can’t possibly do a length quicker than X seconds, and as such, it might be able to be a bit more reliable in terms of counting your laps. I mean, I have no clue how the heck it is managing to figure out lengths at the best of times, it can’t be easy, but if you’re paying £400 for a watch that is supposed to be capable of determining when you’ve spun around at the end of a length, you’d hope that it is indeed capable of this.

Early days, both in terms of firmware and in terms of my swimming ability. Yes, I know my times are terrible. You should see me swallow water; I’m really pretty piss poor.

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