REVIEW: Speedo Aquacoach swimming watch

Name: Speedo Aquacoach

Type: Swimming Computer Lap Counting watch

Key features:

• Automatically counts laps
• Automatically times laps
• Calculates average strokes per lap
• Calculates calories burned
• 100m water resistant
• Works in all pools over 15m in length
• Works with tumble turns and pushing off the wall
• Pause function for set swimming
• Can store 50 sessions
• 99 sets per log storage

Watch Speedo Aquacoach set up guide here

Price: £99 from Amazon

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Whether you are a recreational or serious swimmer it’s good to be able to monitor your progress in the water. Up until recently, if you wanted to work out how far you’d swum in any one session you would have to count up the lengths and multiply them by the length of the pool – a process fraught with complications especially, if like me, you tend to forget to keep tally after a few lengths. However, here’s a gadget that automatically works out how far you’ve swum – and does far more clever stuff besides. Read on to find out more.

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While watches for swimmers are not new, it’s only recently they have become advanced enough to automatically count your laps (lengths) for you. Previously if you wanted a watch to work out how far you’d swum you would have to manually hit a button every time you got to the end of the pool – not exactly ideal.

However, a few years ago Swimovate developed a new technology which used algorithms to sense a break in the stroke pattern every time you turn around in the water. It works with all four strokes (front crawl, breaststroke, backstroke and butterfly) and with standard turns as well as tumble turns though it won’t work if you change your stroke half way through a length. The watch will also work on either the left or right hand.

It is this technology that is incorporated in Swimovate’s range of Poolmate watches – available in pink, blue, black and grey for £69.99 online.

Essentially, the Speedo watch licenses Swimovate’s core technology and though the model is a little more expensive than Swimovate’s (the Aquacoach is currently retailing for £99) it does look a little nicer as well as feel a bit more chunky.

Available in blue or red versions, it has a large flat digital display and four control buttons – two on each side of the watch. A green backlight is on board and the watch can be worn at depths of up to 100m.

Before you swim you need to set the length of the pool you are swimming in as well as your weight (it uses this to work out how many calories you have burned). Settings are in lbs and yards or kg and m and it will work with all pools over 15metres (most public pools are between 20m and 35m). Unfortunately, though, it can’t be used in open water to measure distance – for this you would need a watch with a built in GPS!

While the Aquacoach can be used just to work out the distance and time of your swim (simply by pressing the bottom left button at the start and end of your swim) keen swimmers may be interested in its additional functionality. This includes average speed (how many seconds it takes to swim 100m) and stroke count – how many strokes it takes to get from one side of the pool to the other (basically the lower the better). You can also measure individual ‘sets’ within each of the sessions.

However, it doesn’t have the ‘efficiency’ setting of Swimovate’s Poolmate which uses a clever little metric to work out how well you are swimming – maybe Speedo felt this was a little gimmicky or a bit crude.

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Verdict:

For keen swimmers this is definitely a must-have gadget. While it’s not perhaps the most intuitive of products to set up, once you have figured out what all the buttons do, it’s reasonably straightforward to use. Up to 50 swims can be stored in the log, complete with a breakdown of the date, time, speed, calories burned etc. And while I’m not always in the mood to monitor all of my swims, I do find it useful if I just want to gauge my progress from time to time, especially when it comes to reducing stroke count per length. Recommended.

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4/5

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Speedo video: About the Aquacoach