Capturing swim heart rate data has mostly been a troublesome area, both in terms of transferring data and the strap sliding down in a pool. In both respects it seems to be sorted out from Garmin’s side. Garmin issued a swim-only heart rate strap intended for pool use. The second strap, meant for triathlon use, records swim heart rate as well as all cycling and running data, including running dynamics, but it needs to be worn underneath a tri top or wetsuit.
Data cannot be transferred in water to the watch, and to sort this out, the HRM strap stores the data till both the strap and watch are not submersed any more. Once you exit the pool or your triathlon swim, the data gets transferred to the watch. While testing it, once I exited the pool, my Fenix 3 show a very reassuring message that read “searching for stored data” and then “transferring stored data”. The data was transferred in seconds. As far as the HRM-tri strap goes, I right away raced with it and did not look down to see how it worked, or did not work, but all heart rate data and swimming dynamics were logged good and proper after I downloaded. Much happiness.
I was by default suspicious of the “non-slip” swim only strap, knowing to what extent straps slide down during pool swimming. The pool strap is wider than the usual strap, and has a transparent sticky coating on the inside. It is also not as stretchy as the other strap, to add to its non-slip characteristics. With much anticipation I pushed off in the pool for a swim session. I can truly confirm that it does not slide down. I have since used it many times, all with success. I asked a friend to try it for a second opinion, and he also gave it a 100% thumbs up.
The triathlon strap needs to be worn underneath a tri top or wetsuit, because it has no non-slip features. The module has me somewhat in awe, because it records data during the swim, stores and transmits it, and then happily changes over to capture cycling and running data, as well as running dynamics with its built in accelerometer. It is quite a formidable gadget. The tri-strap worked flawlessly. As stated in a previous article, between my Fenix 3, Vector 2 power pedals and the HRM tri strap, I had more than 100 statistical variables to analyse. It may seem like an information overload, but it is a coach’s or athlete’s dream if you want to zoom in on your weak spots, or get your strong points even better.
After all is said and done, the HRM-Swim and HRM-Tri get a solid thumbs up. They work well! (Please note that the swim straps do not work with the 910XT or older Garmin watches. The 920XT, Fenix 3 and Epix are good for it.)