Swimming with the Apple Watch: these are the options

You can swim with the Apple Watch, so that you can track not only the number of laps but also your calories consumed. Read all about swimming and swimming training with your Apple Watch in this tip!

Swimming laps in the pool is good for your fitness and with the Apple Watch you can make this even more fun. But even if you want to swim recreationally, you can continue to wear your Apple Watch. The Apple Watch is suitable for swimming and recording your workouts. What exactly do you need to swim with your Apple Watch, which straps are best to wear and how do you start such a warkout? You need to know about swimming with your Apple Watch.

  • Models
  • Straps
  • Workout
  • Results
  • Apps

Can I swim with the Apple Watch? Which models are suitable?

All recent Apple Watch models are water resistant and suitable for swimming. This does not apply to all series of the Apple Watch. With these models you can swim without problems:

  • Apple Watch Series 2
  • Apple Watch Series 3
  • Apple Watch Series 4
  • Apple Watch Series 5

If you wear an original first-generation Apple Watch or the Apple Watch Series 1, unfortunately you cannot swim with it. These models are water resistant, but not waterproof. This means that they can withstand a splash of water or can be rinsed off, but are not suitable for immersion. Read more about the water resistance of the Apple Watch in our separate article.

Please note that the Apple Watch is not suitable for deep water immersion or activities involving high water speeds, such as water skiing. You can only swim in a pool or open water, such as in the sea or in a lake.

Which straps are suitable for swimming?

In addition to the Apple Watch itself, you should also pay close attention to the watch strap that you wear. Not all material is suitable for diving into the bath. The sports strap and woven sports strap are best suited for swimming activities. This also applies to the Nike versions of these straps. These straps are made of fluoroelastomer and nylon, respectively. The straps do not discolour, but do dry them well after swimming.

Apple Watch bands for everyday use.

These materials of straps are not suitable for swimming:

  • Leather strap (classic buckle, modern buckle and standard leather strap)
  • Stainless steel (Milanese and link bracelet)

If you have a strap from a brand other than Apple itself, please check carefully what material the strap is made of.

Start swimming workout with the Apple Watch

The standard Workout app on the Apple Watch offers two types of swimming workouts by default: Swimming pool and Open water. Do your laps in an (indoor) pool, use the first option. You choose for swimming in a lake or sea Open water.

It is of course not mandatory to start a swimming workout when you dive into the water with your Apple Watch on your wrist. You can also just turn on the water lock, keep your Apple Watch on and take a splash in the water.

You start a swimming workout as follows:

  1. On your Apple Watch, open the Workout app. Choose Swimming pool or Open waterdepending on where you are going to swim. Tap the dots to set a goal for calories, distance or time.
  2. If you choose Swimming pool, set the track length. The Apple Watch does not use GPS in a swimming pool to measure the distance, so it is important that you choose the correct track length. Usually this is 25 meters.
  3. The Apple Watch counts down and you can go for a swim.

Start swimming with your Apple Watch.

As soon as you start a workout, the Apple Watch is automatically locked. The water seal on the Apple Watch becomes active. This prevents water droplets from being recognized as taps on the screen. In addition, the water seal ensures that the water is blown out of the speaker as soon as you remove the lock.

When the Apple Watch is locked, it is not possible to operate the screen. Do you still want to pause your workout? Then you do that as follows:

  1. Make sure the Apple Watch screen is on, a swim workout is active, and the water lock is on.
  2. Press the Digital Crown and the side button simultaneously to pause your swim workout. If you want to resume it, press these two buttons again.

Pause swimming workout on Apple Watch.

You are currently taking a screenshot at the same time, provided you have this enabled. If your iPhone is not near the Apple Watch, the screenshot will not be saved. If you prefer to disable this, go to the Watch app> General and turn on the switch Enable screenshots from.

Swim Workout Results on Apple Watch

When you have finished swimming, you must first unlock the water seal before you can stop the workout. You do this by turning the Digital Crown. Then swipe right and tap Stop.

The next screen shows the results of your workout. In the summary you will see the following information:

  • Type of swimming strokes and number of meters per stroke
  • Total time
  • Total distance
  • Runway length
  • Amount of jobs
  • Active calories
  • Total calories
  • Average pace
  • Average heart rate
  • Date, time and weather

Results of swimming with the Apple Watch.

The data will be synced to your iPhone as soon as your Apple Watch and iPhone are reconnected. You can also see the extensive results in the Activity app, under the heading Workouts. There you can also filter for only swimming workouts.

Apps for swimming with your Apple Watch

Does the standard Workout app not offer enough options? Then try one of these swimming apps for the Apple Watch:

  • MySwimPro: Swim & Dryland (Free, iPhone / iPad / Watch/ TV + IAP, iOS 12.0+) – Comprehensive swimming app, named Apple of the Year by Apple. Free to try, but requires paid membership later.

  • Swim.com: Swim Tracker (Free, iPhone / Watch, iOS 10.0+) – Automatically record your swimming activities without having to press the button. Free to use.

  • Swim Genius (Free, iPhone / iPad, iOS 11.0+) – Get instructions in the water.

You can also indicate while swimming with the Workout app which data should be displayed. You can read more about this in our tip about adjusting the Workout data on the Apple Watch.


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