The Poolmate Plus is a relatively recent offering from Swimovate, the company that makes watches that count your lengths while you swim. Its stand-out feature from the rest of the range is its use of NFC (Near Field Communications) technology to share data with your phone or tablet (as long as it’s an Android). But more on that shortly. Let’s have a quick look at the watch itself.
Pricewise, the Poolmate Plus is in the middle of the Swimovate range, sitting alongside Poolmate Live. However, the latter requires an additional data transfer cable, which costs £30, if you want to transfer the data to a computer. Ignoring the NFC data transfer for now, the Poolmate Plus offers two additional data points to the entry-level Poolmate2: stroke rate and stroke length. Otherwise, it is similar both in looks (although Poolmate2 has additional colour choices) and functionality, featuring lap counting, stroke count, total distance, speed, time and a measure of your swimming efficiency. The one function we felt was lacking, and which is available on the more expensive models, is a length-by-length breakdown of your swim. So, for example, you can see your total time and average number of strokes for a set, but you can’t see if your speed and stroke rate was changing during that set.
There are a couple of other points to be aware of. Firstly, you need to press the start button at the beginning and end of each interval within your training set if you want to record that data separately. Secondly, you have to remember to set the pool distance before you start. However, these are common features for most swimming watches.
PoolmatePlus can also be used in open water to give an estimate of your swim distance based on your stroke count. For best results with this, it’s best to recalibrate the watch frequently so that it ‘knows’ your distance per stroke. You may also need to set it differently for wetsuit and non-wetsuit swimming.
But finally, back to the NFC functionality. If you have an NFC enabled phone, you can upload your swim data simply by holding the PoolmatePlus next to your phone. The PoolMate app then links the data to your ‘MyPoolMate’ account so you can either view it immediately on your phone screen or on your PC later. And while you can review most of the data on the watch, the downloaded data is easier to visualise and read. For those of us who are forever losing cables, the NFC data link is perfect. It’s just a shame it doesn’t also work on Apple devices (since Apple have not opened NFC to developers).