Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Finis Swimsense

I opened a Christmas present a little early and have been having some fun with the Finis Swimsense. This gadget uses accelerometers and algorithms to measure distance, time and stroke count for swimming in fixed length environments (pools).

Getting started was pretty easy. I set the time, date, 25 yard pool, gender, weight, etc. I hopped in the pool and pressed start. I wasn’t sure what to expect but it seemed to be doing its thing. The button descriptions are hard to read with goggles on, but I only need to remember start and pause so I will get used to that. The buttons require a very positive engagement which I prefer.

Getting the data from the watch to the data log was not so easy. It requires registering and then downloading and installing the Swimsense bridge. This is not unusual for these devices and I use similar software for my Garmin 305 and wired Powertap. However the software was not recognizing the watch on my computer or my wife’s computer at home. I opened a support ticket and tech support thought maybe I had installed the watch upside down on the dock. I am a bit savvier than that, but can see how that could be an issue as the dock is not idiot proof like other devices. At work, I did get the device recognized on a particular port on my computer. I am not sure why that mattered.

Next was uploading the data which seemed to go smoothly until I looked for it on the Finis Dashboard. My next ticket to tech support was replied with “try docking and undocking” the watch. I ended up getting it to work by updating my Firefox browser from 2.0 to 3.6. This was actually documented on the Finis website so mea culpa.

Finally I get to look at the data and it is actually pretty good. My first workout was 2050 yards, but the Swimsense recorded 2400. It was spot on for freestyle, but did not record my IM sets correctly.

The second swim was much better. It was 1900 yards, and the Swimsense correctly recorded my data for the 1400 freestyle and 200 backstroke but recorded 375 yards for my 200 yards of breaststroke.

My next step will be digging into the stroke count information, but I am very pleased with the product so far. Below is a screenshot from my second workout.

click for larger image

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