Garmin Swim 2 | A sports Watch Too Far or SOMETHING MORE INTERESTING

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Garmin Swim 2

I don’t plan on doing a review on the Garmin Swim 2 but it’s definitely worth adding in some thoughts here on today’s announcement as well as adding in the specifications.

Garmin swim 2 specs reviewGarmin Swim – History

Real swimmers tend to be the people that club triathlete’s see in the other, ‘faster’ lanes on pool night. Real swimmers go really fast in the water and, incredibly, seem to be able to do that without the need for any gadgets whatsoever. Strange. It seems that a swim cap (optional), goggles and some super-sleek and tight gear are all you need.

My regular reader knows that I speculate about the ‘next sports watch’ quite a lot and I REALLY have speculated a LOT about the Garmin Swim 2. Unfortunately, that was 3 or so years ago and the product never came…so I gave up on that one! Either I was “ahead of the curve“, “wrong” or “failed to realise that the only swimtech gadgets bought were those by triathletes and the 920XT/935 covered that market quite nicely thank you very much“.

Current State of Play

Garmin has encompassed swimming functionality across a surprisingly wide range of their products from the Forerunner 245 through to the Fenix 6X Pro Solar. To differentiate the offering, the cheaper models usually have a few things disabled, be that OWS/Pool, oHR/chest strap compatibility or something else. So that leaves the more serious gadget-focussed swimmer being steered towards the more expensive tri watches.

That seems a broadly sensible strategy and so you and I might wonder why we now see a Swim 2 watch. Hence one of my contentions that this could simply be “a sports watch too far” with no real market existing for the product.


The positive-thinking, gadget-loving, wannabe-swimmer in me may think that this is a stepping stone forwards to support new innovations in the swim-gadgets market. Let’s hope so.

FORM Swim Goggles Review Specifications

We’ve already seen the HUD in Form Swim Goggles (a nice product BTW) and, already, FORM has morphed to include support for Polar OH1+, uniquely giving LIVE HR feedback as you swim, which IS super-cool and should be live around about now-ish. (Also see: Instabeat HUD)

Instabeat Review Specs Swim smart goggles HUD

Then we’ve seen Incus from Loughborough Uni getting very detailed about high-quality swim position (and other) metrics. We’ve also seen Trainesense providing swim-form metrics AND power to swimmers and I understand they might soon start focussing more on triathletes.

trainesense smartpaddle

So, as you can see, there IS now quite a bit of innovation starting to surface (see what I did there?) that’s actually looking to be quite useful and which might even work. Broadly speaking you could see swimming in general and professional swimming in particular as being a relatively untapped market for consumer-grade gadgets that MIGHT be about to experience a wave of innovation (again, see what I did there?)

Maybe the Swim 2 is designed to state Garmin’s interest in the market and lay down a definitive 2019 product. A product which has all the ‘standard’ metrics and sensors ‘sorted’. Then, as the tech evolves over the next two years, Garmin is well-placed for a Swim 3 to, perhaps, leverage that emerging, 3rd party tech.


You may have come here for the comparative specs so here they are.

Garmin Swim 2 Specs & Comparison

Source: – they don’t look fully correct

Swim 2 has a suggested retail price of $249.99.

There are some nice, but peripheral features here like auto-rest for intervals, CSS and real-time pacing alerts. It’s inevitable that these will make their way to the Fenix 6 and Forerunner 945. DCR also talks about new improvements slated for structured swim workouts.

Swim 2FR 945Fenix 6 Pro
Lens Materialchemically strengthened glassCorning® Gorilla® Glass DXCorning® Gorilla® Glass DX or Sapphire Crystal
Bezel Materialfibre-reinforced polymerstainless steel, titanium or Diamond-like Carbon (DLC) coated steel
Case materialFibre-reinforced polymer with a metal rear cover
QuickFit™ watch band compatibleyes (22 mm)included (22 mm)
Strap materialsiliconesiliconesilicone, leather, titanium or nylon
Physical size42 x 42 x 11.4 mm47 x 47 x 13.7 mm47 x 47 x 14.7 mm
Fits wrists with a circumference of 129-197 mmFits wrists with a circumference of 130-220 mmFits wrists with the following circumference:
Silicone band: 125-208 mm
Larger replacement bands are available as an optional accessory. Large bands fit wrists with a circumference of 151 – 219 mmLeather band: 132-210 mm
Fabric band: 132-210 mm
Metal band: 132-215 mm
Display size1.04″ (26.3 mm) diameter1.2″ (30.4 mm) diameter1.3” (33.02 mm) diameter
Display resolution208 x 208 pixels240 x 240 pixels260 x 260 pixels
Weight36 g50 gSteel: 83 g (case only: 60 g)
Titanium: 72 g (case only: 49 g)
Battery lifeSmartwatch mode: Up to 7 daysSmartwatch Mode: Up to 2 weeksSmartwatch: Up to 14 days
GPS mode: Up to 13 hoursGPS mode with music: Up to 10 hours
Pool and OHR mode: up to 72 hoursGPS mode without music: Up to 36 hoursGPS: Up to 36 hours
GPS and Music: Up to 10 hours
Max Battery GPS Mode: 72 hours
Expedition GPS Activity: 28 days
Battery Saver Watch Mode: 48 days
Water ratingSwim, 5 ATM5 ATM10 ATM
Memory/History50 hours of activity data200 hours of activity data32 GB
Available swim profilesPool Swimming, Open Water SwimmingPool Swimming, Open Water SwimmingPool Swimming, Open Water Swimming, Swimming/Running
“Repeat on” rest timerYesYes
Auto Rest (Pool Swim Only)Yes
Time and distance alertsYesYesYes
Pacing alerts (pool swim only)Yes
Critical swim speedYes
Underwater wrist-based heart rateYesYesYes
Heart rate from external HRM (real-time during rests, interval and session stats during rests, and automatic heart rate download post-swim)Yesyes (with HRM-Tri™ and HRM-Swim™)yes (with HRM-Tri™ and HRM-Swim™)


It’s too expensive but it probably needs that price-premium to compensate for what I would expect to be a relatively low level of sales. In any case, the price is easy enough to change should Garmin decide to do that.

I can see very few people who already own a Fenix or high-spec forerunner buying one of these. Perhaps someone might own a very large Fenix 6X and, as well, would like a relatively small watch for swimming. Hmmm.



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3 thoughts on “Garmin Swim 2 | A sports Watch Too Far or SOMETHING MORE INTERESTING

  1. Do the review! You know you want to!

    Agree though, instead of adding half a mode for running and cycling without the ability to connect corresponding sensors (!!), Garmin should’ve build it with a swapable battery and price tag well below 200€ / 172 quid. Especially if the Swim2 only metrics will come to the 945 and Fenix 6 in time.
    The price for 945 is dropping already.

    Oh and there is the issue with being allowed to press the buttons in the water
    without forfeiting the warranty if you do so.

  2. I bought it november last year:
    + points: screen clarity – battery duration – lap count (paying attention on push off) – input tech excersises possible
    -points: heart rate jumps – stroke recognitian fails often – gps freezes the watch (needs hard reset) – input swimplans needs some experiance – no swim plans incuded (although lots for run and bike) no aerobic or anaerobic progress on run/bike… – expensive

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