Today I received a very welcome email from Polar Flow to inform me that the much-anticipated firmware update had arrived to introduce the tracking of pool swimming metrics to the Polar V800. Awesome news!
Well… as soon as it arrived I hastily re-arranged my schedule to see if I could squeeze in a quick swim before the end of the lunch time lanes session at my local pool. I say hastily, as the ropes would only be up for another hour!
The update via the Mac looked a little like this.
Fortunately it didn’t take the full ten minutes and I was quickly viewing the default screen options in Polar Flow to double-check I was happy with the data screens and wouldn’t need to adjust anything there before heading to the pool. It appeared that it was already set to a 25m pool so after a quick read of the release instructions I was out the door. It’s important to note, however, that you need to add the new Sport Profile “Pool Swimm.” and re-synchronise the watch if you make any changes to the default settings. The V800 Pool Swim is a different setting to the standard “Swimming” profile.
Here’s the link contained in the email giving details of the swim mode update.
I would have preferred a much longer session but had already prepared myself for a limited number of lengths. Nonetheless, I managed 600m wearing the V800 paired with the Polar H7 heart rate strap. And, this is the beauty of swimming with the Polar V800 as it becomes one of the very few watches with the ability to track swim metrics whilst also capturing heart rate data in real-time.
As with running and other modes, the clarity of the screen remained perfect with various swimming metrics available and (impressively) still visible during the swim (whilst underwater). There was even a few occasions where I managed to get a glimpse of the data whilst taking a push from the wall (i.e. distance traveled).
I will be updating the full review shortly so for today I thought the most useful information would be to give an idea of the data that is now available back in Polar Flow. As you can imagine, the functionality of a swim watch differs from running and cycling etc. as far less time is spent viewing the watch mid-activity due the nature of the sport. Having said that, a decent amount of data is available at the pool side if and when you pause between sets but, for the most part, users will want the to see the data post activity.
This is the main screen when clicking on the swim activity.
Note the heart rate data plotted neatly on the graph with pace. This is a very significant feature and one that many swimmers will be interested to see. There was a slight loss of heart rate data at the very start, but I’m pretty sure this was down to how quickly I had to start after putting on the H7 belt (in my rush). I have never had this issue before.
As with most other swim watches, the pace per 100m is displayed (min/100m) as is the stroke efficiency and ‘SWOLF’ score. Take a quick look at the Polar’s release notes for an explanation of SWOLF.
Underneath the main section you can drill down into the numbers to see a breakdown of each length and also any laps.
After this first swim I’m really excited about the data I’m going to be able to see from now on!
And to let you know how the Polar V800 swim mode fared against a dedicated swimming watch, here’s a screenshot of the the exact same swim with the Garmin Swim.
It’s pretty impressive that the majority of stats are identical.
As mentioned above, this is just a short update post for now. I’ll be making some amendments to the full in-depth review as soon as I’ve completed a few more swims with the Polar V800. You can read the full review of each function here.
I should also mention the firmware release has also brought an update to the daily activity tracking so that the step count and other activity data can now been seen on the watch display. This is great info as you now have details of how to achieve your daily goal by the end of the day. In fact, whilst sitting down writing this update the Polar V800 has vibrated to alert me to get up and move!
Head back soon for the full updated review.