Wearables have become a common place site with athletes both in the gym and on the trails. My runner and cyclist friends are all avid wearable-rockers. This trend has slowly found itself to the local swimming pools as well.
The big issue—which our land-bound athletic brethren don’t suffer from as much—is the accuracy aspect. Most waterproof wearables don’t track strokes other than front crawl, are easily
That’s where the FitBit—one of the leading wearable manufacturers on the planet—steps in. Their set of waterproof Fitbits are generally more accurate than other trackers I have sampled.
Fitbit currently produces two Fitbits are that are awesome for swimming: the Flex 2, a lower priced “bracelet” model that has high battery life and is priced around $60. There is also the Fitbit smartwatch—their first one designed to give the Apple Watch a run for its money—the Fitbit Ionic.
The latter is far more feature-rich, and includes customizable faces, a scratch-proof screen, and it waterproof down to 50m (not that you will likely ever need to get that deep in the water). With all the extras the Ionic is also more expensive, coming it around $300, which is actually on the cheap side of things in the smartwatch category of wearable.
When it comes to swimming, there are two major reasons that you should be wearing a waterproof Fitbit:
Counts your laps for you. Back and forth, around we go, going up and down the black line for hours on end. If you are like most triathletes and swimmers I see at the local open swim, than I know you like doing long, unbroken stretches of swimming. Which is all great and swell—until you lose count. I’ve been there more times than I count, mid-set and suddenly wondering to myself if I was on my 5th round or 7th round. It sucks. Sporting a Fitbit for swimming will help you make forgetting lap counts a thing of the past.
Counts your stroke rate for you. Ever heard of SWOLF? How about mini-maxi swimming? Nope? The concept of both are simple: to swim as fast as you can with the lowest amount of strokes possible. The purpose of this is simple: the more efficient you can be in the water (i.e. the less strokes you take), the easier your overall speed becomes. Great swimmers aren’t just wildly strong or athletic, they are also able to swim through the water at a more efficient level than the competition. Russian sprinter Alexander Popov, who dominated the 50 and 100m freestyles for nearly a decade, took 3-4 less strokes per 50m than his competition. Training with a waterproof FitBit means you can track your stroke count per length (the ultimate measure of efficiency) in addition to how quickly you are completing each length (the measure of velocity). These scores give you another variable with which to target in your training.
The Takeaway
Tracking and evaluating our training makes our time in the pool more focused, and as a result, we improve faster. The next time you head down to the pool strap on a waterproof Fitbit and compete with the personal bests that you set yesterday and work your way to a faster and more efficient swim-stroke.