Open Water Swim Question.

I see a lot of open water swim posts from 2 years ago but thought I would ask a question here about the Fenix 7X SS.  I had a long pool swim thread that really helped me because I now record 1000 meter swims accurately in both 25 and 50 meter pools by wearing the watch on my right hand and pushing off and gliding hard on the turns.  

We arrived in Mexico 3 days ago and there is a huge pool here that is about 100 meters long in an irregular shape.  I can not swim laps.  Therefore I switched to open water and just swim for about 30 minutes.  I know my pace and that distance was at least 1000 meters if not more.  On two swims the watch reported 600 to 660 meters.  I was swimming around the periphery of the extremely large pool and crossing back and forth diagonally.  The map shows the pool and fills it with red tracking lines.  I did  pause the activity a couple of times to rest and then punched resume.  The time and everything else was accurate.  But the distance not.  

Any advice?  I don't really need to record distance in that pool swim with no laps, but was just playing around and really learning the watch now.  I am not confident enough to go do a 1000 meter swim in the ocean.  Its a little rough out there and I would be swimming alone parallel to the beach.  

By the way ... what are the little curved lines at the top of the watch in various colors on the walking or hiking app?  At the start of the walk activity a see a green arch at the top thord of the watch, then it shifts to little arcs of various colors.  What is that?  

On my Fenix 3 HR that I wore for years, when I started an activity, I waited for the green arc to complete the 360 degree circle around the outer face of the watch and then it beeped when GPS was ready to go and all necessary satellites acquired.  I don't see that now, but did add the GPS graph to all of my activity screens.  

  • The only thing that’s going to prove is that you shouldn’t use the OWS activity to record a walking activity. Horses for courses and all that. 

  • Yes of course! Distances expand or shrink using one activity or another! It's a kind of Garmin's general relativity!

  • bottom line, some of us who had trouble with ows with the f6 who hoped that the f7/epix will fix it are likely to be disappointed. that's a shame, I'll be doing my first ows in a couple of months but am very disappointed by these early reports. for the record I didn't have ows distance issues prior to the f6. f5, f3 and 910xt all preformed just fine in ows for me. 

  • I swam for 31 minutes this morning with he OWS app and the reported distance was 525 meters in 31 minutes.  On my absolute slowest pace, that would be over 1000 meters.  Again, that was in a very big resort pool and I was just swimming circles around it.  The trac recorded and I had strong GPS.  

    I'm also now concerned about damage to the barometer-thermometer sensor from Chlorine. Did you see the thread where Garmin said that temp was disabled on the pool swim app because they discovered that chlorine damaged the barometer - thermometer combined sensor?  When it is on the chlorine damages the sensor to a much greater degree than when it is off.    

    My question on the other thread was this:  If I'm swimming in a pool with the watch on, even just playing around with family, that sensor is on because the sensor is on right?  

    By the way, the OWS app recorded the correct water temp on all my pool swims the past week.  (But while doing so I was unknowingly damaging my barometer-temp sensor.)  

    Again, I was only using the OWS app so I could get a GPS distance read while swimming in that big pool.  There are no lanes so I couldn't use pool swim where you set the length.  

    Does anyone have any knowledge about why the OWS GPS would record the distance so far short?  One poster said that the GPS algorithm does not handle those short legs or circles well.  When I get home I'll try OWS while swimming laps in an Olympic pool where I know the distance for absolute certain.  (Of course, that also means I'm damaging my barometer-temp sensor with chlorine contact while it is on.)  

  • I don't know why OWS app records so far short distances,  that's surely something wrong on its algorithm, report it to beta team... If you want to do a test,  use run or walking app instead and you will see that diseases will be fine.

  • OK. Here is the deal.  I swamy 1000-1100 meters every day for ten days at the huge resort pool at Villa La Estancia near Bucerias on the Pacific Coast of Mexico.  It is a huge pool with no lanes and an artistic shape.  I both crisscross it and swim around the edges for 30 minutes, which for me is about 1100 meters.  (I know my pace well.)  The average length before turning is probably around 60 meters.  I used the OWS app, not the pool swim app (because I could not enter a pool length).  I swam a good steady freestyle stroke.  The distance all ten times was reported somewhere in the 600 meter to 650 meter range.  Way short.  So this morning I used the walk app to record the swim and it reported 1600 meters!  On all 11 swims, the track looks like it reported very accurately.  I always had open skies and a strong satellites signal.  

  • That's for sure something wrong with ows distance. You can also do the 9 test: use ows app for a walk.

    Garmin seems doesn't care about ows; as i said, i'm tired to report it to beta team and have the same reply from the same people. If you want an advice, use another watch for ows.

  • One could argue that the hand being underwater more than half the time in a *** stroke would render OWS GPS dead.  But many claims it works fine out on a real open water lake or ocean swim.  Maybe the GPS algorithm it just doesn't like those pool legs - even a big pool.   But if the GPS is tracking the swim, which it is, it should report correct distance.  The GPS on this F7XSS is very accurate on my long walks.  I mean perfect.  My F3HR was not.  So why is the GPS not accurate with the OWS?  

  • first, are you swimming free style or ***? Secondly, do you have your gps setup differently on walk vs ows? Can you share what your ows track looks like?  I think if it's a perfectly straight line it means there were no gps points during that portion and it simply connected a line between two dots.  However, when there is a decent gps signal the track looks more curved and twitchy. during the straight line portion there is no gps and the watch uses the accelerometer data to calculate distance based on stroke rate. The distance per stroke is used from the last data the watch acquired when there was gps signal.  That is what I concluded when looking at my ows using FIT decoders. 

  • That is helpful.  First of all, I'll never use OWS in a pool but did here because the pool was huge and I could not use the Pool Swim app because I could not record pool length with no lanes.  I was at first just experimenting, but then it became clear that the GPS was under reporting the swim length by a big amount.  It was a freestyle 30 minute swim every day for over ten days. That is very interesting what you said about the straight lines and GPS estimating the distance via swim stroke count.  I zoomed all the way in on all the swims and the pool is big enough that you can see some tracks, but it eventually just fills in to a mass of lines.  Let me go look at that again and I will report back what I see.