Question

Open water swimming with Multi-Sport Cardio GPS Watch


Hi I use my watch to record distance when swim training in open water. The issue I have is the watch is incorrectly recording the distance. Some swims only show a distance of a couple of hundred meters after swimming for one and a half hours. My training partner swims with another brand of watch and does not have the same problem so it is not a satellite problem. I never get an accurate reading of the distance. What am I doing wrong?

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theharveys wrote:

Hi I use my watch to record distance when swim training in open water. The issue I have is the watch is incorrectly recording the distance. Some swims only show a distance of a couple of hundred meters after swimming for one and a half hours. My training partner swims with another brand of watch and does not have the same problem so it is not a satellite problem. I never get an accurate reading of the distance. What am I doing wrong?



The watch does not support open water swimming using GPS, it is for pools only. Supporting open water swimming is much more complicated than pool swimming (which involves counting strokes and figuring out the stroke length). GPS cannot be detected underwater so it would need to time the GPS signal attainment with the split second the watch is above water on each stroke (assuming you are doing a stroke that brings your arms out of the water). This is a very difficult thing to compensate for and it has been a mixed bag on many devices, none of them do it perfectly well and many have not even tried, like TT (and Garmin on their more recent devices). Your friend's watch likely supports open water swimming so it has the logic to try to get GPS only when out of the water. What most users who want open water swimming do is to use freestyle mode and put the watch in their cap or on a safety buoy behind them so it stays out of the water. You will then get distance but will lose swim specific metrics, however.

TT will not be adding this so if this is a vital feature for you and you are within your return period you may want to look at other devices that offer this option now. I would not count on it coming, you need to make your decision based on the features that are currently offered, and not what may come in the future. Go into it with the assumption that what is in the box is all there is and it will never be updated, to save setting yourself up with false expectations.

I imagine this is not what you were hoping to hear but let me know if this answered your question. If it did, please mark it as a solution so other can look for it if they have the same question.
Actually I have been using the freestyle mode for open water swims and, although the course often shows me swerving like a drunken porpoise, the distance and speed is fairly accurate. I would love to see tomtom integrate open water swim into the multisport but until then this works just fine!
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They will not. The MultiSport has been discontinued and is no longer getting updates. Even their most recent watches do not support open water swimming and since swimming is the least used activity on the watch I can't see them going down that road, there is simply not enough return for the investment in my opinion.
@tfarabaugh the TomTom spark IS getting updates in the last software update they added VO2max, fitness age, fitness points and improvements in music reproduction and with software 1.7.60 works great.

Now hope they add running cadence graph and maybe open water swim to make this the absolute best multy sport watch in sub 200 dolars price range
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Diegogb wrote:

@tfarabaugh the TomTom spark IS getting updates in the last software update they added VO2max, fitness age, fitness points and improvements in music reproduction and with software 1.7.60 works great.

Now hope they add running cadence graph and maybe open water swim to make this the absolute best multy sport watch in sub 200 dolars price range



That update came out before they announced they are leaving the market and not producing any more devices. It was actually a very flawed update and broke BT connectivity for many users and has not been fixed in three months. I can assure you they are not adding running cadence and especially open water swimming, particularly to the MultiSport which is discontinued.

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