Garmin Swim 2 Review
The long-awaited sequel to the dedicated swimming watch, the Garmin Swim 2 now packs the latest in tracking features, support for open-water swimming and GPS, as well as swim-specific features not found on any other model in Garmin’s lineup. With this release, Gamin continues to cater to/capitalize on niche markets within the outdoor/fitness umbrella in a unique way.
After seven years, Garmin introduces a follow-up to its Swim smartwatch with an array of features, an attractive new design, and all of the tracking features Garmin has implemented across its lineup in the past seven years. What it does, it does well, though those who spend more time on dry land won’t reap nearly as many benefits. Not meant to be a mass-market or high volume unit, the Garmin Swim 2 will be very appealing to a specific (albeit narrow) market looking for in-water tracking stats.
The Swim 2 is sleek and miminally designed, with a familiar five-button layout and a silicone strap available in an array of colors. Water resistant to 5ATM (or about 170 feet), the Swim 2 weighs just 36 grams as to not get in the way of your strokes. A color screen is customizable via the Garmin Connect IQ app via iPhone or Android, and its 208×208-resolution screen held up well to direct sunlight, as well as underwater, with the Garmin Chroma Display.
Garmin put a lot of thought into finding out what swimmers need, and as a result, the Swim 2 tracks distance, pace, stroke count, even stroke type, and distance per stroke. It also is capable of calculating SWOLF, or “Swim Golf,” a way for swimmers to track their strokes and time per length, to maximize swimming efficiency. More advanced features include Critical Swim Speed, which monitors your anaerobic threshold swim speed and logs it for training purposes, and the ability to automatically create laps when it detects that you’ve reached the pool wall. The automatic timing feature that this relies on isn’t the most accurate, but it is much more intuitive than pressing the start/stop button.
Open-water swimming relies on GPS, which is accurate and connects quickly. Using these three different systems (GPS, GLONASS, and Galileo) means that the Swim 2 is arguably the most accurate open-water swim tracker on the market, and this is where seven years of continuous improvement across Garmin’s lineup really benefits this watch.
In addition to these specific features, the Swim 2 can also count steps, heart rate via an optical sensor, sleep monitoring, and Garmin’s new Body Battery function, which checks your energy levels throughout the day. Garmin Coach offers custom workouts tailored to your training regimen. This array of sensors is applicable to cycling, running/hiking, and cardio, so the Swim 2 isn’t just limited to aquatic adventures.
Tracking: GPS, GLONASS, Galileo tracking on color maps with panning and zooming.
Pool swim mode: Records laps and distance for a variety of pool shapes and sizes.
Open-water mode: Uses built-in GPS for outdoor swims.
SWOLF: Gauges swimming efficiency as well as pace, stroke type, and stroke count.
Advanced Sleep Monitoring: Breaks down your night to track your light, deep, and REM sleep modes.
Garmin Coach: Training plans include distance running for 5Ks up to full marathons.
Body Battery Energy Monitoring: Suggests when to get rest based on your vital signs, activity and stress levels.
Battery life: Up to 7 days in smartwatch mode, 13 hours in GPS and optical heart rate (OHR) mode and 72 hours in pool and OHR mode.
Since it’s counterintuitive to keep checking your watch while you’re in motion underwater, the Swim 2 logs everything obsessively as a result. The data is linked to your smartphone’s Garmin Connect app, for further post-training analysis. To access all of this data, the menus can quickly become overwhelming. Fortunately, Bluetooth is easy to set up and works as intended to bring this data to spreadsheets.
The Swim 2 is focused on one task and one task only: to improve your swim training. It does this well—very well, actually—with accuracy and a suite of useful features. It is priced competitively and includes support for other disciplines, which lends itself nicely to everyday wear. If you’re looking for a day-to-day fitness tracker we would recommend looking at a host of other options, but if you swim competitively it’s hands-down the best option out there.
Frequently Asked Questions
Garmin Swim 2
Number of Available Colors
Type Of Display
Sunlight-Visible, Transflective Memory-In-Pixel (MIP)
1.04" (26.3 mm) diameter
Heart Rate Monitor
Water Resistance Rating
Swim, 5 ATM
Max Battery Life
On-board music storage
NFC Touchless Payment