What’s the best fitness tracker for swimming?

Written by Allie

Swimming is one of the best workouts you can do for your body. Adding in an effective swimming wearable technology fitness tracker can help you record progress, work toward goals, or earn credit with IncentFit.

What To Look For

Competitive swimmers regularly track their progress by measuring technique, conditioning, and race times. But anyone can make quantifiable progress with swimming if you know what to test and track.

Common tests include timed swims of a set distance or lap count, heart rate monitoring before and after a swim, or checking your stroke count (consistent practice can help you increase your DPS, or distance per stroke, coaches say).

The type of data you track is really up to you, but a good swimmer’s fitness tracker should have most of these key functions built in, including:

  • duration tracking
  • stroke count and stroke rate
  • lap count and lap time
  • ability to set a custom lap distance (for pools)
  • stopwatch functionality
  • heartrate tracker
  • water resistance in fresh and salt water
  • Bonus: calorie burn counter, stroke type sensor, GPS (for open water swims), virtual swim coaching via a companion app

We looked at the most popular swimming trackers on the market and compared their features, reviews, and prices.

What you want really depends on your own needs, but our picks are the Moov Now as a dedicated swimming band or the Fitbit Versa for an overall fitness device/smartwatch combo.

Device MoovNow Garmin Swim Samsung Gear Fit2 Pro Fitbit Versa Apple Watch Series 3
Price $60 $150 $149 $199 $329
How to Wear Wrist or ankle Wrist Wrist Wrist Wrist
Water Resistance Level 3 M 50 M 50M 50M 50M
Built-in GPS No Yes Yes No Yes
Heart rate monitor Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Companion Mobile App Yes No Yes Yes Yes
Works with IncentFit Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes!

Read on for a breakdown of our top five.

Moov Now

For a tracker that’s dedicated to swimming, this one wins for price point and functionality. The weblike band automatically tracks laps, distance, time, speed, swimming style, stroke count, and much more. Advanced swimmers can also see a breakdown of individual laps, stroke rate, and DPS (distance per stroke). Moov has other fitness capabilities too, but as a product “by swimmers, for swimmers,” that function is where it shines.

Garmin Swim

The Garmin Swim is designed for pool training. This rugged sport watch records distance, pace, stroke count, and stroke type (of the four competitive swim styles) to help gauge your swimming efficiency. Garmin uses its own Garmin Connect web platform where you can upload and analyze data after your workout. For a device that’s exclusively for pool training, this one is a powerhouse.

Samsung Gear Fit2 Pro

The Gear Fit2 Pro’s built-in GPS makes it versatile enough for pool or open water swims. In partnership with Speedo, Samsung launched a companion app, Speedo On, to track and display stroke type, lap count, lap time, distance and pace. Reviews are generally strong, though some users have warned that its advertised water resistance can get damaged if you use it in the shower.

Fitbit Versa

After introducing swim tracking in 2016, Fitbit’s newest smartwatch has refined its swimming function, now tracking lap count, distance, duration, and calorie burn during swimming workouts. While these stats may not be enough for more advanced swimmers, the Versa is a solid choice for a smartwatch that tracks swimming and a slew of other fitness activities and wellness data. It’s a stylish device that gets close to Apple’s high-end watch at a more affordable price.

Apple Watch Series 3

Topping out on the price scale, Apple Watch is more like a smartphone on your wrist than a traditional fitness tracker. You can make calls, stream music, check text messages, and view your daily step count…but how does its swim tracking stack up? The Series 2 and Series 3 both work in shallow water using the waterproof function; when you start a swimming workout the device automatically locks the screen and speakers to avoid water getting in. The workout app tracks stroke type, distance, calories, laps, and heart rate. Our take: if you just want fitness tracking, there are more affordable options with similar features, but for the robust smartwatch experience, Apple is unmatched.

Whether you’re a beginner or a seasoned athlete, swimming helps build endurance, tone muscle, improve cardiovascular health, and burn an impressive amount of calories, all in a low-impact, full-body workout.

Recommended fitness trackers for other activities?

We have also published guides for the best fitness trackers for indoor running and the best tracker for indoor cycling and spinning. Our guide on the most fashionable fitness trackers would also be helpful in your search!

As you make an effort to move towards a ‘quantified self‘, one thing to consider is that buying a fitness tracker alone won’t enough to create a healthy fitness routine in your life. There are some research backed reasons why fitness apps don’t help create a healthy fitness routine as well, if you are interested.

Want to step up your workplace wellness program with a benefits plan that can reward employees for any type of fitness activity, from swimming to gym visits and more? Schedule a demo to learn about IncentFit’s Activity Rewards.

Corporate Wellness Benefit Managers having a discussion while looking at an electronic tablet.

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