Using Swimsense™ to Understand Workout Details On the Fly

You’ve been using the Swimsense for a couple of weeks now and getting used to analysing the data. You’re comfortable wearing the watch while you swim and you are happy with the recording capabilities and feedback available. The Swimsense dashboard is a great tool in this regard and if you spend some time reflecting on specific sessions, you start getting used to your numbers. For example, I know without thinking too hard that my average stroke count is 9 cycles per 25m, I have an average distance per cycle of 2.5m; my training pace is around 1min 20sec per 100m; my stroke rate is 0.90. These numbers are important to keep in mind, here’s why…

You’re putting in a repeat interval with a particular goal. Maybe it’s 20 x 100m and you need to keep a count on strokes. How many strokes are you still taking at number 14? Or, if you’re doing a slightly longer interval and you need to know: what was your average pace for that last 800m effort? Or even need to check if you’ve done 1200m or 1250m of you current 1500m interval. Don’t you hate it when that happens? Swimsense can answer all these questions perfectly, and on the fly.

The first thing you will notice about the Swimsense is the different color modes it uses to display active recording versus a paused state. In the pool, this contrast is easy to spot, even at a glance underwater. In paused mode, the background goes dark with the text taking on a highlighted effect.

The image on the left is running, and the image on the right is paused

A quick note on the different times displayed on the face. The time in the center, in large font, is the overall accumulating swim time, including rest periods. The smaller time above that is either the interval time or the rest time. When swimming, or when initially paused, the interval time is displayed and is marked with an “I#”, where the # is the number of that interval. When paused, the accumulating rest time is marked with a “P”.

The other detail you need to know is the ALT button on the top left of the watch. This button will become your friend for quickly reviewing data on the fly.

In the next photo, you will notice two values below the time; in this case, 1.33 p and 3.7 m/st. The 1.33p is your 100m pace and in this case, it’s 1 minute 33 seconds. The 3.7 m/st is your average distance per stroke on the last interval. The abbreviation may suggest per single strokes, but after referencing the user guide, this distance per stroke value is in “meters per stroke cycle.”

If you toggle through the ALT options, you will notice the numbers below the time change. Below, we see 75 m and 7 st. The 75m is the distance swum on the last interval where 7st represents your stroke count per length (i.e. 25m, 50m or one of the other allowable variations you configured on your Swimsense). Also remember, this stroke count is the number of cycles you have taken per length. This view is particularly useful over the longer intervals where you might need to check if you’ve completed that 1500m or not.

Alos take note of the I1 on the top left-hand side of the display. This represents your first interval. That number will increment as you start and stop the watch to record your swims.

The next screen below shows two more numbers, 3.5 s/st and 33 sw.

The number 3.5s/st represents your stroke rate. Again, you need to refer to your tempo trainer workout card ( to convert between tempo trainer numbers and displayed values. The important detail to keep in mind is that the “per stroke” reading on the Swimsense is a “per cycle” value. 33sw represents your SWOLF score. This is a very useful number for determining the efficiency of your last interval. The SWOLF score is calculated as the sum of the stroke count per length plus time per length. The higher the SWOLF score, the less efficient your last effort was. A good tip is to correlate your SWOLF score with your golf score. The lower the number, the better!

You will continue to press ALT and come across the numbers like this: 10 cal and 1 lps. This is a calories burnt estimate along with the number of laps swum in this interval. Remember, 1 lap is out and back (i.e. 2 lengths). This is a variation on the distance swum theme previously seen.

Another variation on the distance theme is the total distance in the workout. The “W” logo will show you your total distance along with the total calories burnt estimate for your workout thus far.

Now you should have a good idea of the features the Swimsense has available while in the pool to help you along with your set. At a glance, you can get a factual account of your last interval and use that information to motivate the next effort. Swim fast!

- Bryan