With the addition of a Garmin 910XT watch and Quarq Power Meter, I now have a lot of swim and bike data that I’ve never had before. The only problem is that I haven’t had time to dive into the data and see how it can help me improve. Since the power meter stuff is a lot more complicated, I’ll just tell you about the new swim data for now.
The Garmin 910XT watch is waterproof…so it can be used to time your swim workouts, both in the pool and in the open water. Not only does it keep track of your distance, it counts strokes for you as well. By taking your total time per length of the pool (in seconds) and the number of strokes it takes you to swim that length, Garmin calculates your SWOLF (mash-up of the words Swim and Golf). So just like in golf, the lower your SWOLF score, the better. In open water, this same formula will be used per 100 meters swam to calculate your efficiency.
For the three swim workouts I’ve done with the watch, I’ve been scoring in the 31-33 range for short (50-200m) intervals and 36-40 during my longer (800m) sets. For example, during a recent workout where I did 3 x 800m repeats with 3 minutes rest, my scores were 39, 39 & 40. An average length (25m) was done in 27 seconds and I took 12 strokes (27+12 = 39). Looking at a 100m interval from this morning (see picture below), an average length was done in 23 seconds and I took 10 strokes (23+10 = 33). So I’m much more efficient when swimming faster, but there is no way I could hold this pace during a longer swim.
During my 800 repeats I did notice that my total stroke count and time increased with each interval – 364 strokes (14:31), 368 (14:43) & 372 (15:07). So I was getting less efficient as I tired. The goal as I continue to train and increase my fitness is to have consistent SWOLF scores with each long interval.
I had some issues with the watch right out of the box and had to return it to Garmin for a new one, but now that I’ve been using the new one for almost two weeks…I love it! Awesome Christmas present from my awesome wife!