I have a Garmin Forerunner 235 which is a great Running and Cycling watch but in Garmin’s infinite wisdom they kept out a dedicated Swim Mode in the watch (despite it being full waterproof). Most likely to distinguish it from the Forerunner 735 which costs twice as much.

Up until recently I have been using my watch as a stopwatch, counting my own lengths. I heard about an IQ App which claimed to add a decent swim mode into the mix.

The App is called Pool Swim and can be found here  There are some basic reviews on the site and the author provides a fantastic user guide here

Install App:

I thought I would give it a go. Using my phone’s Connect App I installed the App, this is done by the following:

1. Open Connect App
2. Click Menu and select navigating Garmin Devices
3. Select your watch from the Menu
4. Click Connect IQ Apps
5. Click Applications
6. Click Get More Applications
7. Search for and Click Pool Swim
8. Click Download
9. Click the arrow to go back

By default it uses a 25m pool, if this is not your default you can update it using the phone App. I did not need to do this.

My version was 4.3 which was the latest at the time.
On the Watch – do the following to activate:

1. Click the Activity (Running Man Button)
2. Press Up to choose Activity
3. Select Apps (press Running Man to select)
4. Click Running Man icon
5. Select Pool Swim (press Running Man to select)
6. Press Running Man to start/stop/pause Activity.

As mentioned full user guide is here
It doesn’t know pool length which is why that is configured manually. My understanding is that this is a fairly common requirement.

So how does it perform:

Once started it uses the watches compass rather than the accelerator to detect length completion and as a result it takes a second or so AFTER you turn to detect the length was completed. Obviously if you turn before this say at half way it will incorrectly mark it as a completed length.

That being said, I did stop a couple of times to see if it had correctly detected the number of lengths and therefore distance swam and it did so correctly.

The user guide states to stop the activity if resting for more than 10 seconds which is a little annoying. I kept my breaks short as a result, it would be nice if this limit was increased but it appears it’s to stop false positives (i.e. resting but swinging arms around would states lengths have been completed)

Ultimately it would be good if it had some logic, i.e. if your last few lengths have taken 30 seconds then you will not complete a length in 5 seconds that kind of thing but that’s being picky.

Once the activity is stopped Garmin records it as 0.00 distance activity. But does give the distance in an IQ field below. You have to manually adjust the activity distance to match. Screenshots are below of how it looks.


0 distance visble
but iq information is correct


And after editing the activity and changing the distance to match the IQ data it appears as follows:


There is some useful stats there, such as Strokes per Minute, although I would prefer a Strokes per length as a far more useful stat:

After correction of


Yes that ugly block of black IS the actual colour, would be nice to be able to change it to match the rest of the Garmin colour palette.

Final thoughts:

Overall I am happy with my first attempt at using the App, the real Garmin Swim Watch auto detects stroke, and all the data is available instantly without having to edit it but these are small things.

Oh, and I broke 12 minutes for my 400m Breaststroke which is a PB too.