The best heart rate monitor for swimming 2017 can be narrowed down to three main contenders, which are used for swimming and or triathlons. They all have have internal accelerometers that can be used to measure swimming performance. With this selection of swim watches you can expect to get data including number of lengths, swim speed, strokes per minute and swimming efficiency. Some of these watches can also be used for open water swimming, making use of both the accelerometer and the built-in GPS unit.
Extracting Heart Rate data while swimming isn’t so straight forward. The older Polar models, like the FT1, FT4 and FT7 will all give heart rate in the swimming pool as they use analogue heart rate signal from strap to the watch. However anything that uses digital signal from heart rate belt to watch, whether Bluetooth, ANT or other, will NOT collect heart rate while swimming. Digital signals simply refuse to travel in the water.
The solution to this problem can be found here with the Suunto Ambit 3, the Polar V800 and the Garmin Forerunner 920XT. The Polar V800 uses both transmission methods to get around the problem. Digital heart rate broadcasts when on the land and Analogue heart rate when in the water. The Suunto Smart belt stores the hear rate data in the strap then sends it to the watch unit when you are out of the water. This is also how the Garmin Swim strap works, locally storing heart rate data while you swim and then broadcasting it to the 920XT watch unit when you are out of the pool.
Polar V800 GPS
This is Polar’s smartest and most advanced training computer ever. It is designed for the most demanding athletes and sports in the world and its design, integrated GPS and smart training features are top class, whether you’re running, swimming, cycling, skiing or even doing them all. The Polar V800 helps you know just when you need to recover from a tough session and when you are ready to get back out there.
Ironman World Champion, Frederik Van Lierde, said: “I train up to 35 hours a week and I need a smart training tool that gives me deep insight into my performance, whether I’m swimming, running or on a bike. The Polar V800 goes with me everywhere and because it also measures even my smallest activity, it helps me know how I’m benefiting from the rest I need to stay at the top of my game.”
An optional running stride sensor is available separately. Speed, cadence and power cycling pedals for cyclists will also be available separately. All accessories are Bluetooth Smart compatible, including Polar’s heart rate sensor. Access to Polar Flow is free.
Garmin Forerunner 920XT
Water rated 5 ATM the Forerunner 920XT offers advanced swim metrics for training in a pool or open water. Its drill logging allows athletes to easily log swim drills and kick sets at the pool, along with recording swim distance, pace, stroke type, stroke count and SWOLF score. The Forerunner 920XT includes two rest timers to keep swimmers pushing off the wall on time, and features distance alerts to let users know a set is over, or time alerts to help them hold their pace.
Suunto Ambit 3
The Suunto Ambit 3 Sport is generally sold with the Suunto Smart belt. Just like the Garmin HRM-swim belt, the Smart belt stores the heart rate data from the swim locally. At the end of the swim, when the signal between watch and heart rate belt is re-established, the swimming heart rate data is broadcast to the wrist unit. With the Ambit 3 Sport and SMART belt you get full swim-metrics plus heart rate feedback. It is only the Garmin Fenix 3, the Polar V800 and the Garmin 902XT Tri-Bundle that have the ability to give heart rate & swim-metrics from the same wrist unit