The Garmin 735XT multisport watch. Precision open water swim tracking, heart rate included.

The Garmin 735XT multisport watch is simply great for open water swimming. It is super compact, tracks your swim with precision and logs your heart rate from the first to the last beat. If you are OCD, rest assured. The size of the 735XT will leave you streamlined in your top-of-the-line swim wetsuit and you’ll also get your watch-arm easily out of your wetsuit in transition. It is that small.  

Can you remember how erratic the first GPS watches tracked open water swimming? Check the photo below. With the 735XT, new algorithms has sorted out the erratic lines that came with the first open water swim tracking. In principle, every time your arm gets submerged, the watch loses signal and has to “reconnect” with the previous point when comes out of the water. The geeks at Garmin stayed up for many nights to present us with a watch that offers realistic open water swim tracking.

The same “Big Bay Round the Rocks” course tracked by the 735XT (top) and the older 310XT model (below). The smoother tracking of the 735XT speaks for itself.

As far as heart rate goes, the swim heart rate strap does the job wonderfully. Water interrupts communication between the watch and the strap, so Garmin made a strap that stores your heart rate in the chest unit and transmits it to the watch once you exit the water. The wrist based heart rate gets disabled when you select open water swimming. Both the “swim-only” and the triathlon strap record heart rate.

Heart rate as captured by the swim strap. Notice the dip in heart rate as we waited for other swimmers to catch up during this 2,2 Km sea swim in Big Bay, Cape Town.

You can customize your own data fields to see parameters such as time, pace, distance and many more. Check the photo below for some of the fields. Having three fields such as time, distance and pace offers sensible data during a race.

Some of the available fields for open water swimming.

  The Garmin 735XT offers solid swim stats that is of great benefit for any athlete. Use it to your advantage.

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About Frank Smuts 188 Articles
“The greatest moments happen when you step out of your comfort zone.”

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