Can An Apple Watch Track Swimming?

24 September 2022

Ever since it was introduced, the Apple Watch has been lauded for its fitness tracking features and the athletic benefits it can provide. Apple has advanced these fitness features with each iteration of the watch, but many users still have one important question when it comes to athletics and fitness:

Can the Apple watch track swimming?

If you’re going to try to use the Apple Watch to track swimming, there are some things you need to know, so let’s take a deeper dive-literally and figuratively-into what they are.

The Swimming Basics with the Apple Watch

The first thing you need to know if you’re going to use your Apple watch for swimming is the basic water resistance capabilities of the device.

Series 2, for instance, has a resistance rating of 50 meters, and subsequent models have the same depth level.

But that resistance level tends to diminish over time, so if you’re not buying the latest and the greatest Apple watch on a regular basis you may want to keep that in mind.

If you are going to use the Apple watch for swimming, the setup is simple, which is true for many activities with this watch. Just open the Workout app, scroll down to “Pool Swim” or “Open Water Swim,” and you’re good to go.

You can use the three-dot menu to set a goal for time, distance and calories, and the watch will start logging results three minutes later.

If you’re going to be working out in a pool, it’s best to do full laps going the length of the pool, as this will produce more accurate metrics.

If you want to closely track your metrics, you should set the watch so that they’re displayed on the face. The reason for this is simple: the Apple watch locks to keep water droplets from accidentally tapping a function, so this setup will ensure that you see what you want to view.

Finally, you should make sure the watch is sitting on your wrist, as this will also help with accurate measurements, and obviously, it will help make your workout more comfortable.

When You’re Done With Your Swim

There is one other small safety procedure you should know about once you’re done with your workout, and you should also do it if you take a pause.

Hold the digital crown and the side button during your pause, then press these same buttons again. When you’re done, wipe off the smartwatch screen, then rotate the crown all the way to lock under the screen so that the Apple watch can eject any water that may have entered through the speaker vent.

The watch actually makes a noise to let you know that it’s done this, and it is invaluable when it comes to extending the life of your watch.

Residual water can damage the internal components, and this can give you false readings or even damage the watch to the point where you won’t be able to use it anymore.

After the water has been ejected, you can swipe right and tap the “End” button, then do whatever you want with the results of your workout.

Going Beyond Workout Tracking

For those who want to go beyond simple tracking, there are examples of how the Apple watch has been used to improve performance.

One of the best of these is the experience of the Australian national swim team, which has credited the app with helping the team achieve its best-ever results.

The team also uses custom apps, of course, but the Apple Watch helped team members view their metrics during training sessions. The team was able to gather data in real-time, and viewing the results on the Apple watch proved to be a powerful visual tool to improve performance.

Individually, one of the most important results of using the watch was the ability to avoid overtraining. This was especially true in the case of Zac Stubblety-Cook, who holds world records and has earned gold medals as one of the team leaders. He cites the ability to measure his heart rate in between sets as an especially key feature to see how he’s responding to specific training techniques.