Friday, May 27, 2011

The Ultimate Swim Gadget? The Brand New Finis SwimSense

A product review this week: Over the last couple of months here in Perth, the Swim Smooth team have been putting a new swimming gadget through its paces. After extensive testing we have found it extremely beneficial in improving a swimmer's stroke technique, pacing skills and get the most out of their fitness training. Suffice to say we're very impressed!
Find out more about the
SwimSense on our website here.

The Finis SwimSense is a new design of swimming watch (called a 'Performance Monitor' by Finis) which measures how far you swim, your speed, your stroke count and your stroke rate too. The watch uses motion sensors to record data accurately for every lap you swim and makes this easily available for analysis both on the watch screen and by downloading to your computer.

We love the SwimSense so much that we've started using two units within our training squads in Perth. Our swimmers are finding them invaluable as they provide very precise and detailed feedback on their swimming, even more so than we can provide as coaches from the pool deck.

We've tested every similar device on the market and the SwimSense is more accurate and much easier to use than anything else out there. Check out Paul Newsome's in depth look at the watch here.

What It Lets You Do:

- The SwimSense records your total training distance, training load and calories burnt every session. It captures the structure of every session exactly as you swim it so you get a complete record of every workout in the pool.

- Monitor your stroke rate (strokes per minute) as you swim and study how this varies with distance, training pace and fatigue. If you're an Arnie, use this to spot if you start to fight the water during your training sets. Or as an Overglider, watch out for that deadspot returning to your stroke during longer swims.

- Monitor your stroke count on every lap. Whilst the absolute number of strokes you take per lap bears little relation to your efficiency, if your stroke count consistently increases whilst you swim this shows your stroke is deteriorating, often as a result of starting too quickly.

The SwimSense's software is very easy to use.
- Monitor your pacing skills with the split times taken on every lap. As you'll know from this blog, good pacing skills are absolutely essential to train effectively and increase your swim fitness. Most swimmers start every swim or interval too quickly and then fade, this greatly harms the effectiveness of their training.  If you are on a performance plateau then your pacing in training and races is the first thing to look into.

- Assess your pool performances accurately. If you've swam in a race or training swim and not performed as expected, the data from the SwimSense will help you diagnose what went wrong and point out where to improve your performance next time.

- Very easy to use data-transfer and analysis software including a full on-line training log / diary to record your training sessions and data.

- Full integration with Training Peaks and WKO+. If you are triathlete using a power meter on the bike, and a GPS or Footpod when running, then the SwimSense completes the picture allowing you to measure your complete training load in all three disciplines. For the first time you can now accurately include your swim training in WKO+'s Peformance Manager.

- Automatically detects all four strokes - perfect for masters swimmers tracking their medley training and stroke technique.

- Boosts you motivation! Our swimmers here in Perth have found that being able to record and track improvements in their sessions is very motivating, particularly for those that train outside of a squad or training group. They are even able to see small incremental improvements in performance that they would have otherwise missed.

Testing the SwimSense here in Perth

We like the SwimSense so much we're now using them every day with our swim squads here in Perth and have started stocking them on our website. For a short period only we're extending our free worldwide shipping offer to the Swimsense. Don't miss out on this great offer, pick up yours from our Swim Shop.

Swim Smooth!

10 comments:

Anonymous said...

Is it any use in open water training, or does it provide more interesting feedback in the pool?

Anonymous said...

Yes, I'd be very interested to know if it works in open water too, or does it need the end walls to calculate distance? Also can be used in sea water?

Anonymous said...

How can the watch detect the number of laps, if sometimes we open turn, flip turn, or stop for rest before tarting another lap ?

Anonymous said...

I have a Fastlane, which is going to be similar to those in open water. Will it work with this?

Adam Young said...

Hi guys. The SwimSense won't measure distance in open water (or endless pool), nor will it count strokes per length (obviously!). It should in theory still be able to record your stroke rate - something we're checking into with the engineers at Finis.

When we have an answer back we'll let you know.

Cheers!

Adam Young said...

> How can the watch detect the number of laps, if sometimes we open turn, flip turn, or stop for rest before tarting another lap ?

It definitely does this because it sees any turn as a big spike from the accelerometers on the device. So it can detect any sort of turn and it doesn't matter if you pause at the end before setting off again.

If you are stopping at the end of the length then Finis recommend that you press pause/stop on the watch to make sure that lap time is measured accurately. Otherwise it could carry on timing the length when you have in fact stopped.

Fernando J said...

Hi there SwimSmooth!
Very nice review of the Finis SwimSense. Just wonder how this compares to the Pool-Mate (Pro) from Swimovate?
Cheers

Adam Young said...

We liked the Swimovate watch but felt the software rather lets it down. Compared to the Swimsense the session logging and analysis is basic. It does also take some time to get everything installed and there's no integration with training peaks.

Critically for us, it also miscalculates stroke rate as it includes the push off in the calculation which causes a significant error.

With some more work on the software it could be an excellent product but the Swimsense is a long way ahead in that department and so is definitely the watch to go for in our opinion.

Anonymous said...

Garmin Forerunner 910XT looks like a great watch, albeit very expensive. http://www.dcrainmaker.com/2011/12/in-depth-swimming-comparison-between.html The Gramin watch looks better for those who swim open water. For pool swimming, they both seem good. I have the Swimsense. It's great but it would have been nice with a brighter screen.

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