If you swim for fitness, finding a watch to keep track of lap times is difficult. Most general-fitness watches are cumbersome to use underwater, and often have displays that are hard to read. But there are a couple of innovative products out there that attempt to solve this problem.
The Zoggs Lap Pro is a fairly standard looking digital watch with a large LCD display and a face that acts as one large button which you press to register a lap. Simple, easy to use, and, at $50 online, reasonably priced. The drawback is that you still have to touch your wrist with your off hand at the end of a lap, which you don’t normally do while swimming, but it’s better than trying to press a tiny button.
Speedo has a watch called the Fastskin with a large digital readout which is slightly tilted to make it easier to read at a glance. However, other than the display, the fact that it has a stopwatch, is water resistant to 50 feet, and bears the Speedo brand, I’m not sure how this qualifies as a swimming watch.
And then there are the Casio Baby-G Dolphin and Whale models with a couple of interesting features like a dive log and the time at 10 popular dive sites around the world. As it turns out, though, it appears that the Baby-G Dolphin and Whale line is more about saving marine animals than swimming with them since part of the proceeds from each sale goes to environmental protection initiatives. Still, not bad looking Baby-Gs.
Speaking of Casios, the G-Shock GW-400J is a reasonable choice for the water. The vibrating alarm was designed for water sports like swimming, surfing, and water skiing where it’s difficult or impossible to hear the typical faint beeps of most alarms. It also sports some interesting water-related features like a tide graph and a thermometer that measures both air and water temperatures.
But if your focus is strictly lap swimming, another solution is a finger-mounted timer like the SportCount. The smaller display is harder to read, but the button is easier to press since it’s located right next to your thumb. Like the Zoggs Lap Pro, the SportCount provides fastest, slowest, and average stats, plus a lap counter and total time elapsed. The only problem is that we’re watch fanatics, and as such, we’d prefer a wrist-mounted solution like the Zoggs any day of the week.
By Paul Hubbard and Christian Cantrell