If You Love To Swim, These Waterproof Fitness Trackers Are Total Game-Changers

by Andrea Hannah
Originally Published: 

Although there are plenty of fitness trackers for runners out there, it's not always easy to find one you can wear while you're swimming laps — but they do exist. And the good news? The best fitness trackers for swimming aren't just waterproof, they can measure your workouts and provide helpful data, just like trackers for dry-land athletes.

The first thing to consider is how serious of a swimmer you are. Swimming trackers, or swim watches, range from a simple device that times laps, to high-tech options that include average heart rate, oxygen levels, and recovery scores. There are also several options that can switch from swimming to other tracking modes. If you're someone whose primary workout happens in the pool, or you want to seriously train and improve, consider a tracker with more in-depth features. But if you like to switch it up frequently, look into a multi-sport watches with a few different tracking modes.

Another thing to keep in mind is wearability. While some people like to wear a smart watch for swimmers, some can be large and heavy if worn for long periods of time. Plus, a lot of sports trackers just aren't that dressy. If you're into the idea of all-day wear, be on the lookout for something with a clean face and interchangeable bands.

Here are some of the best waterproof fitness trackers for swimming so you can get back to the lap pool.


The Best Swim Watch: Garmin Vívoactive 3 GPS Smartwatch

What It Measures: Laps, distance, heart rate, VO2 max (the maximum oxygen a person can utilize during exercise).

What's Great About It: This waterproof fitness tracker has all the features for a serious swimmer for a manageable price. The second you slip this device on, it automatically starts taking tabs on your heart rate in one-second intervals. It also measures your oxygen capacity according to your fitness level and age, and even includes an updated stress-factor feature. This scale monitors how much stress you've dealt with throughout the day, so you can be sure to give yourself a little self-care, in or out of the pool.

On top of that, this watch can be personalized to the wearer. On top of swimming, it comes with 14 other preloaded workout apps—like yoga, running, and cycling—so you can switch up your workouts while still tracking your progress. And with smart notifications that flash across the face, you'll never miss a message while you're working out.

Tradeoffs: Although this tracker is waterproof up to about 130 feet, some features aren't available when wet. The touchscreen is completely disabled, so you'll have to tap the physical button on the side to mark your sets.

What Swimmers Say: Avid swimmers love the amount of information and accuracy this tracker provides over other trackers. One reviewer wrote, "The swim feature thoroughly meets my expectations with more information than I would ever need. The distance counting can add/miss a lap or two every once in a while but I've found if you have a good GPS signal its not an issue."


The Most Affordable: Vigorun Fitness Tracker

What It Measures: Heart rate, calories burned, steps

What's Great About It: This sleek and simple fitness tracker can give casual swimmers important data without breaking the bank. It continuously measures your heart rate so you can identify if you're pushing yourself hard enough during your swim. It can also track your calories burned, as well as the weather (in case you're swimming in an outdoor pool). On top of that, this little watch has Bluetooth capabilities so it can still notify you of incoming calls and messages, just like the more expensive models.

Tradeoffs: While this device is great for a novice, it doesn't go very in-depth in terms of tracking. You can't track your laps, pace, or distance, and you'll have to be careful of deep dives—this watch can only be submerged up to 1.5 meters (nearly 5 feet deep) for half an hour.

What Swimmers Say: In general, swimmers tend to love the battery life and USB charger on this one. One reviewer writes, "I use this at time of running and swimming and it works awesome. it is 100% waterproof."


The Best Splurge: Garmin Forerunner 935 Running GPS Unit

What It Measures: Laps, distance, intervals, stroke type, drills, heart rate, pace, stride.

What's Great About It: This multi-sport fitness tracker takes data on just about every part of your body and workout to maximize performance. First, there are the swimming features, which include the essentials like lap length and distance. But this watch can also identify the type of stroke you're practicing. Then there are the running and cycling features, which can analyze your pace, stride, and even the way your feet hit the ground. And when you've finished your triathlon and need a break? This lightweight tracker weighs only 49 grams and can comfortably double as a wristwatch.

Tradeoffs: At almost $500, this tracker is pretty pricey. However, if you're a serious athlete who participates in multiple sports, or you're training for your next big event, the data and analysis this tracker provides are invaluable.

What Swimmers Say: Reviewers can't get over the amount of data they get from this ultra comfortable tracker, with one multi-sport athlete writing, "I love this watch. I run, swim, bike, lift weights and this watch does it all. And, it is so light weight. No metal to clank around."


The Best For Everyday Wear: Fitbit Versa Special Edition Smart Watch

What It Measures: Laps, distance, heart rate.

What's Great About It: This versatile fitness tracker also doubles as a business casual watch when you're not in the pool. It comes with a dressy woven band and modern watch face for your workday, and when you're ready to swim, you can switch to a waterproof, silicone band to keep your device protected. This model includes 14 workout trackers so you can use it for any workout, and continuously monitors your heart rate and provides feedback. On top of that, you can program up to 300 songs on it so you can jam out with some waterproof headphones while you're swimming.

Tradeoffs: This tracker is made for an everyday athlete, not a competitive swimmer, so it's missing some important data, like VO2 max, that more serious swimmers may want. Some reviewers also noted that while the woven band is nice, it doesn't keep the face firmly in place for an accurate heart rate reading.

What Swimmers Say: It's all about the aesthetics for this one. Swimmers love the versatile watch faces, programmable apps, and the lightweight face. One reviewer writes, "I can't believe how light and comfortable the Versa is. The back is flat, despite the sensors (no green light seeping out when I sleep, either). It doesn't leave a single mark on my skin, even though my skin marks easily."


The Best With Data Storage: Swimovate PoolMate2 Swim Sports Watch

What It Measures: Laps, strokes, speed, distance, rest time.

What's Great About It: If you're looking for a device just for swimming, this specific tracker does the trick. First, it collects data on anything an avid swimmer might need, including laps, speed, and even the number of strokes in a set. It can also store up to 50 workout sessions so you can go back through your data to analyze how you've performed to keep improving. On top of that, this tracker is completely waterproof up to 50 meters deep.

Tradeoffs: This tracker is made specifically for the pool, so if you get tired of swimming, you'll need a totally different device for your on-land workouts.

What Swimmers Say: This simple, no frills tracker is a big hit with regular swimmers. One reviewer writes, "I swim laps pretty regularly--like almost every day. Works perfectly. No issues. I've tried a few others from friends, but the Poolmate2 is pretty much the best I've used."

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This post was originally published on 9/18/2018. It was updated on 6/17/2019.

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