Thursday, April 12, 2012

Finis Swimsense

I have been using the Swimsense for about 18 months.  Over that time I have logged over 300,000 yards.  For the data obsessed athlete, the Swimsense is certainly a fun toy.  When I do long freestyle sets, I still count laps and the Swimsense is spot on accurate.  I also get a good feel for my pace and stroke count.  For example during an 1800 yard freestyle set, I could see inflection points where my pace dropped off and my stroke count climbed.

However, as a new swimmer I also spend a lot of time kicking and working on drills.  This type of data cannot be captured by an accelerometer based device.  Further, I have been learning backstroke, breaststroke and butterfly.  My backstroke can be accurately counted as long as I don’t pause before starting recovery.  This is a backstroke sin anyway.  I often get double the number of lengths for breaststroke.  This is most likely due to the glide phase.  Finally, the Swimsense cannot identify my butterfly and it is always recorded as freestyle.

These inconveniences are most frustrating when viewing my training log.  I will have some 1800 yard workouts that record 2300 yards and some 1800 yard workouts that record as 1200 yards.  I still capture data in excel spreadsheets and manually load set information into online training logs.

Given my experience with the device, I would not re-purchase the Swimsense or any lap counting device.  I originally had a sportcalc but got tired of pushing the buttons.  For me as a swimmer, it is part of my training to remember my sets/splits and capture data in a swim log manually.

For a swimmer at any level (fitness or competitive) who has a developed stroke and uses stroke count feedback, the Swimsense is a wonderful device.  I have not compared the data to the Swimovate or Garmin 910XT.  On a follow up note I have been very pleased with Finis software updates and customer service.

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