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A look at Garmin’s new swimming heart rate straps: HRM-SWIM & HRM-TRI


(**Update: A full In-Depth Review for these HRMs is available here!**)

Today Garmin introduced two new heart rate straps that are designed to capture your heart rate data while you swim.  This move puts them roughly on parity with offerings that competitors Suunto and Polar already have for recording heart rate data underwater.

As you probably already know, the wireless transmission of heart rate signals (either ANT+ or Bluetooth Smart) through water is non-existent.  It travels about 1-2 inches underwater before the signal is lost.  Instead, these straps follow what Suunto did by storing the data for sync after you exit the water.

Garmin has released two slightly different straps, aimed at covering the two core swimming scenarios:

Garmin HRM-SWIM: An ANT+ heart rate strap that records heart rate underwater, but has an additional special sticky back surface to keep it from sliding down your chest in pool scenarios.
Garmin HRM-TRI: An ANT+ heart rate strap with Garmin Running Dynamics that also records heart rate underwater and is designed for swim/bike/run triathlons.  It however lacks the special sticky part for pool use (but would otherwise work there).

Before we get into the details too far, let’s dive into each strap individually.  Note that while I was able to toy with the straps off in a park on my own for a while, I was not permitted to swim with them yet.  So I don’t know if they’ll ultimately suck or not.  Thus, this is not a review nor anything representing one.  Just an explanation of what they do and how they work.

Some Background:


Getting heart rate data to a swim watch is certainly not new.  It’s just…’complicated’, to quote a Facebook relationship status.  Polar was really the first in this ballgame many years ago with their T-31 coded straps, and then subsequent hybrid straps – such as the Polar H7.  Suunto then followed with both a strap that sync’d afterwards, as well as then last summer with the Ambit3 and their Suunto Smart Sensor strap (also post-sync).

In the case of Polar, the data display was always ‘live’ in that it showed you what your heart rate was at that exact moment on the watch.  Again, via an analog signal.  Even with the Polar H7, the HR transmitter sent out both a Bluetooth Smart signal and concurrently an analog signal.  It’s that analog signal that was actually picked up by the watch – the Bluetooth Smart signal never made it past your elbow.

Meanwhile, Suunto on the other hand went with a ‘store and forward’ option. In this scenario it didn’t aim to transmit the data in real-time to your watch, but rather record it for later viewing.  This meant that you never saw your current heart rate on the watch in the water.  Instead, when you brought the watch above water (or directly next to the strap), it’d sync the data.  So this would occur at the end of a set while you waited at the wall, or afterwards if in an openwater swim.

The challenge however with both methods is that they depend on the heart rate strap staying put.  For women this isn’t an issue, since you’re generally wearing a swim top during pool swims – which keeps the water pressure from pushing it down when you push off the wall (unless you’re swimming in Barcelona, where the women go topless while lap swimming).

But for men (including yours truly), the strap almost immediately slides down to one’s waist when pushing off the wall with any reasonable force – let alone intervals.  I’ve tried all the tricks like turning it around or twisting the strap.  And some have even suggested suspenders or wearing a swim top – both of which I refuse to do in the pool.  Thus ultimately HR data while swimming has been elusive for many.

Note: I should point out that there have been hackable-ish attempts at using 3rd party optical HR sensors (primarily the Mio Link) with both the Garmin lineup as well as the Suunto and Polar products.  This has been a bit of a cat and mouse game with the big three (Garmin/Suunto/Polar) pretending to innocently block these attempts.  Ultimately, there’s no technical reason they need be blocked, rather, it’s just a software block to prevent pairing of these sensors in swim mode.  The non-technical reason though is that it likely reduces support costs with the portion of the population that it won’t work reliably for.  You might have seen my swims with optical HR in the Garmin FR920XT review, for example. (Update: Garmin has sent over a note saying that for the Fenix3/Epix/FR920XT you’ll be able to pair any 3rd party straps you’d like during the swim, including the Mio Link.  See FAQ section for more details.)


First up is the HRM-SWIM (the blue strap one).  This is Garmin pool-focused heart rate strap.  It’ll record your heart rate and then sync up after you exit the water with your watch.

Why pool and not openwater swims?  Well, the strap is purposefully thicker (taller) to reduce sliding down your chest when you turn at each length of the pool.  Check out the size differences:


On the back of the strap is a sorta-sticky rubber material.  You know those little sticky balls that you can throw at the ceiling and they stick there?  It’s kinda like that, but just not as sketchy (so it doesn’t feel weird after you take it off).  It actually ships with a protective plastic coating – presumably to avoid it trying to do the romance dance with the rest of the packaging.


Of course, once you start using it you’ll take off that protective plastic – just like you would for any other consumer electronic device.

You’ll find that it has a bit of a thicker pod than most other straps.  But it does have a removable battery – so you can certainly swap it out later like other HR straps.  However unlike most heart rate straps that simply have a single size, this actually has an extender option.  Sorta like a seat-belt extender.  You can see the two pieces here:


This probably helps to ensure that more petite folks don’t end up with a strap too big and unable to resize, rather than the other way around (more buoyant folks needing bigger straps).  Below you can see the length of a standard Garmin HRM strap, compared with the regular HRM-SWIM and then the extender for the HRM-SWIM.


Next, you’ll notice that the strap does contain rather specific instructions on exactly where to wear/place the strap on your chest:


Now in my case I wasn’t able to try out the strap in the water – so I can’t attest to how well it stays put.  Though, in playing with the material a bit, I’d be rather surprised if it doesn’t hold given the feel of it. It definitely ‘grabs’ onto the skin – rather than just being pressed onto it via force of tightening like other straps.

Additionally, when it comes to how the data looks in the pool, I can only show you a screenshot or two provided by Garmin.  Though you can see though that the HR data is overlaid onto the swim data graphs – pretty much just like any other workout with a HR strap.

Note that the strap must be worn in conjunction with an existing supported Garmin device (FR920XT, Fenix3, Epix) – and can’t be worn just by itself and downloaded to your computer.  That said, the strap does transmit standard ANT+ for regular transmission, so in a pinch you could use it during other sport activities – but I’m not sure how comfortable that would really be long term (i.e. a long run).



Next, we’ve got the HRM-TRI strap (it has the black strap with blue pod).  This is different than the Swim strap in that it lacks the oversized band.  It’s really designed for the actual triathlete where the unit is worn beneath a triathlon suit.  Not necessarily a wetsuit, but just a normal tri top as 99% of athletes would wear.


This means it’s perfectly fine for openwater swims, which lack the strong water pressure associated with pushing off a wall at each end of a pool.

In this scenario it’ll still capture your heart rate data underwater just like the HRM-SWIM.  You’ll see that it still has a smaller patch of the sticky stuff around the sensor pads to try and add some grip – but otherwise it’s very similar to a regular Garmin HR strap.



(HRM-TRI: Top / HRM-SWIM: Bottom)

The difference here is that this strap is then designed to be worn the rest of your day (triathlon day that is).  So it’ll then act and feel like a normal heart rate strap while cycling or running.  Whereas the HRM-SWIM is sorta like the WWF (err….WWE?) belt.

You can see that size-wise compared to other heart rate swim capable straps it’s roughly in line size-wise on the pod:



Here’s the top-down view compared to the existing Garmin straps:


Same goes for thickness:


Speaking of which, here’s a look at the back of the straps comparing all the major players here.  Top to bottom: Suunto Smart Sensor strap, Garmin HRM-RUN, Garmin HRM-TRI, Garmin HRM-SWIM (blue), Polar H7.


Now just like the HRM-SWIM strap this will capture heart rate during the swim which is synchronized when you exit the water.  And just like that strap, you can’t wear it by itself without an associated Garmin watch.  And finally, also like that strap it will pair via standard ANT+ broadcast to any other 3rd party ANT+ devices for just regular HR strap capabilities.

New Garmin FR920XT Tri Bundle:


Just a quick note that in addition to the new straps, Garmin is finally releasing a ‘triathlon bundle’.  They’ve had this on all past units, but took their sweet time in making one available for the FR920XT.  Essentially the triathlon bundle in the past allowed you to save a few bucks and get the watch, the quick release kit, and a heart rate strap for a slightly lower price.

In the case of the FR920XT however, they’re tweaking things, here’s the low-down:

– New black/grey FR920XT unit (previous FR920XT was blue/black, or red/white)
– BOTH the HRM-SWIM and HRM-TRI HR straps
– The FR920XT quick release kit

That whole kit will set you back some $599USD.  Purchased individually, it’d be totaled as $669 (HRM-SWIM/TRI: $199, FR920XT: $449, Quick Release: $21).  So a savings of $70.

Of course, whether or not one really needs all that gear is probably an entirely different discussion.  At this point it does NOT sound like the new grey/black FR920XT will be available without the bundle.

Frequently Asked Questions:


I’ve learned many years ago that anytime you mix heart rate and water, there tends to be a flood of questions.  Never quite sure why, sorta like the ‘Tweet a picture you can’t explain’.  So I’ve attempted to answer all these as best as possible below.

Does the HRM-Tri transmit Garmin Running Dynamics data?

Yes, to compatible watches (i.e. FR920XT, Fenix3, Epix, FR620), yes, it will.

Will the HRM-TRI & HRM-SWIM work with XYZ watch?

‘Work’ is a tricky word.  The HRM-TRI & HRM-SWIM straps are at their core ANT+ straps.  As such, they’ll transmit ANT+ data above water to any ANT+ capable device (i.e. any Garmin watch).

However, they WILL NOT transmit saved swim data to other devices except those listed in the ‘Compatibility’ section. As a reminder, that would be ONLY the FR920XT, Fenix3, and Epix.

Will the HRM-TRI & HRM-SWIM record swim data for the FR910XT, Vivoactive, or Fenix2?

In short, no. Here’s why Garmin isn’t adding support for those models – in their own words:

“Garmin Swim: There is not enough memory to support Garmin swim capability
Vivoactive: The HRM Tri/Swim are viewed as being of interest to a more advanced user who would be purchasing a 920XT or fenix 3 (vs a vivoactive that offers basic features for swimming)
FR910XT & Fenix2: Since the fenix 2 and FR910XT are older models it was decided to have our internal resources focus on other products for compatibility and any potential troubleshooting. There is no planned software update that would add compatibility for fenix 2 or the 910″

Knowing that the Fenix3/Epix/FR920XT share much of the same code, it makese sense to enable all three of those at once.  Whereas the FR910XT (now nearly 4 years old), and the Fenix2 are quite different – I can see the logic there.

Now, for the Vivoactive, I don’t entirely agree with their logic – especially since they currently lack an updated Garmin Swim (swimming only watch).  Thus, the cheapest modern watch with swimming capabilities someone could buy from them is basically the Vivoactive.

Can I use the HRM-SWIM when not in the water (or, in openwater)?

Yup, absolutely.  The only thing is that it’s not just as comfortable out of the water because of the material being designed to stick to you, as well as the increased thickness.

In short, yes. Here’s the quote from Garmin:

“Yes, if the Mio Link (ANT+) sees the 920XT the whole time, then it will work with the 920XT same as ever. However, the HRM-Tri and Swim were made to work for the special case of swimming with a 920XT, so even though the Mio Link can store HR it wouldn’t have the programming on its side to work with the 920XT for store-and-forward uses such as when you come up at the end of the interval or save the activity at the end of your swim (where the HRM-Swim/Tri will work with the 920XT to stitch all the data back in with your activity).”

Note however that backfill (when the device captures HR data during periods of non-connectivity), won’t work with the Mio Link, or any other straps on the market today since they don’t yet support that capability. In this cases, it would just show a dropout.

Can other companies communicate with the new straps?

Essentially, yes.  I asked whether the new storage-capable straps are done in a ‘private’ (private-ANT) or ‘public’ (ANT-FS) method:

“The public ANT-FS spec is used to download the stored HR data. Garmin has optimized the ANT-FS transfer using some manufacturer-specific information, but it is still possible for another device to access the ANT-FS directory and download the files.”

The reason this matters to you as a consumer is that it means that someone else could develop a strap, or, in cases such as the Wahoo TICKR X, it could potentially be updated to work with the swim watches. Additionally, it also means other non-Garmin devices/watches could be updated to download information from the straps.

Can I use the Wahoo TICKR X instead of the HRM-TRI/HRM-SWIM?

(Updated): Not today, no.  The TICKR X doesn’t know how to talk to the Garmin device via the previously noted ANT-FS.  Though, it could certainly be updated to do so.  Today however, you can still use the Wahoo TICKR X to record data outside of the water (run/bike), but within the water it won’t sync up with the Garmin device through any Garmin-specific process (there are some 3rd party ways to combine the data from the TICKR X – but it’s a bit messy).

Can I use the HRM-TRI/HRM-SWIM with the Suunto and Polar watches?

No.  The Suunto Ambit3 uses Bluetooth Smart, the Polar watches while underwater use an analog frequency.  And the older Suunto Ambit1/2 units wouldn’t understand how to talk the data sync process over the ANT+ straps.

Can someone take just the HRM-SWIM to the pool (and leave their compatible watch in a swim locker), and then download the swim afterwards?

Sorta.  You can take the unit to the pool and swim with just the strap for HR data only.  But, you still need to start the timer on the watch first so that the watch can tie the HR data to something to eventually upload.

Must the watch and strap be connected prior to starting each activity?

No, assuming they’ve been paired at least once – and assuming there was an activity started for the watch to tie the HR data to.

How is the battery changed (and what type)?

Like all existing Garmin HR staps, the battery is a CR2032 and user replaceable with a small Phillips screwdriver.

If the strap itself wears, can that portion be changed?

The pod does not detach so it is not possible to replace just the strap portion. Garmin says: “This design enables a fully sealed connection between the electrodes and the processor, a requirement for reliable computation of heart rate underwater. It also enables a sleeker form factor for good stay-up performance.”

Does the HRM-Swim also do Running Dynamics?

No, however, the HRM-Tri is designed for occasional pool use for this reason.

Is the new black/grey FR920XT available for standalone purchase?

No, not at this time.

Final Thoughts:


As one might expect, I think this is definitely good news for folks.  It fills in the gap for heart rate recording underwater that for Garmin users has been present for the better part of a decade.  At this point it enables all three major triathlon product companies (Suunto, Polar, Garmin), to have products that can record heart rate underwater.  Of course, they all have their pros and cons.

In the case of Garmin and Suunto, you won’t be able to see heart rate from the device during the swim itself (mid-length anyway).  Whereas with Polar, you can indeed see your heart rate data live at any time.  On the flipside, with Polar and Suunto, for men, wearing the strap can be tricky in the pool because of the slippage problem.  In openwater swims, that’s not an issue (nor for women).

It remains to be seen how well the sticky strap for the HRM-SWIM works in real life (since my time was limited to a non-pool setting), but just the feel of the strap has me pretty confident it won’t go anywhere.  But, whether that stickiness lasts a season is also something I’m skeptical of.  But, we’ll see soon.  The unit starts shipping here in Q3 (so sometime before the end of September 2015).

With that – thanks for reading, and feel free to drop any questions below.

Wanna support the site?

Found this review useful? Or just want to save 10%? Here’s how:

Hopefully you found this review useful. At the end of the day, I’m an athlete just like you looking for the most detail possible on a new purchase – so my review is written from the standpoint of how I used the device. The reviews generally take a lot of hours to put together, so it’s a fair bit of work (and labor of love). As you probably noticed by looking below, I also take time to answer all the questions posted in the comments – and there’s quite a bit of detail in there as well.

I’ve partnered with Clever Training to offer all DC Rainmaker readers exclusive benefits on all products purchased. You can read more about the benefits of this partnership here. You can pick up the Garmin HRM Swim or HRM Tri through Clever Training using the links below. By doing so, you not only support the site (and all the work I do here) – but you also get to enjoy the significant partnership benefits that are just for DC Rainmaker readers. And, if your order ends up more than $49, you get free US shipping as well.

Garmin HRM Tri (US – Clever Training – Save 10% with DCR10BTF)
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For European/Australian/New Zealand readers, you can also pickup the unit via Wiggle at the links below, which helps support the site too! With Wiggle new customers get 10GBP (or equivalent in other currencies) off their first order for anything over 50GBP by using code NEWGB at check-out after clicking the links below.

Garmin HRM Tri (EU/UK/AU/NZ – Wiggle)
Garmin HRM Swim (EU/UK/AU/NZ – Wiggle)

Additionally, you can also use Amazon to purchase the straps (though, no discount). Or, anything else you pickup on Amazon helps support the site as well (socks, laundry detergent, cowbells). If you’re outside the US, I’ve got links to all of the major individual country Amazon stores on the sidebar towards the top.

Thanks for reading! And as always, feel free to post comments or questions in the comments section below, I’ll be happy to try and answer them as quickly as possible.

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  1. Jürgen

    Such a shame that it will not work with my 910xt while it’s just a ANT+ protocol.

    • Christophe

      Nah, it’s not “just” ANT+. I’m still thinking how this works. In principle, there must be synchronized clocks on both devices and timestamps associated with the HR measurement. After the burst transfer, the data stream has to be merged with the main data stream on the watch… so yo need special software on both devices.

    • L

      I had the same reaction… though I guess it saves me money.

    • Nemo Brauch

      I had exactly the same reaction. Gutted it doesn’t work with the 910XT. And until they come up with a “quick release” bike mount/wrist strap for the 920- I’m simply not interested in switching.

    • Chris

      Ive had a quick release on my 920 since last year, works great. Wouldnt let that hold you back from an upgrade.

    • Steve

      I guessed they wouldn’t roll it out to the 910xt, but as Ray says below with regards to the Vivoactive, I really can’t see why. I have a perfectly fine 910xt. I have no inclination to upgrade to the 920 at the current time. Yet I would immediately spend the $$$ on both of these HR straps to get the HR swim data on my 910, even though I know I wouldn’t get the benefit of the running dynamics bit.

      They are still updating the 910 (it’s only a couple of months ago that they rolled out software 3.2), so if its a simple case of a firmware tweak, by doing so they open up a whole host of additional, existing, customers that will buy this. To me it makes commercial sense, but then Garmin make their own choices.

    • Joe

      Same here… have 910xt that works just fine… not looking to buy 920xt just for swim HR.

    • Jürgen

      I understand that software update is needed for the 910xt but this can not be that difficult as they still updates. It’s just because they are late on the market with this functionality that people with a 910xt are not benefiting from this. I have more the feeling that garmin needs an extra selling point for the 920xt as most athletes don’t yet see the benefit of replacing the 910xt

    • My guess is that the main reason is that much of the code is shared between the Fenix3, Epix, and FR920XT. The FR910XT (now being nearly 4 years old) has a much different code base.

      Obviously, there’s an element of them wanting to spur on new sales, but the FR920XT is selling pretty darn well already compared to triathlon watches (last I looked it was 20-30:1).

    • RobHug

      They donate a QR for the 920.

    • RobHug

      Sorry supposed to say ‘do have a QR for the 920’

  2. Rob

    Shame they haven’t seen fit to release an all black 920xt. I’d be all over that. I just asked my friend what he thought to the existing options and his answer was his 8 year old son would like them.

  3. Is there any chance Garmin will unblock HR for swimming in Fenix2 with 3d party sensors (Mio Link)? I do not like being forced to upgrade the watch that still works fine

    • I’d guess about zero chance unfortunately.

    • Lori Pacheco

      I read everything but am a little slow on the uptake. Seems like a software update would make it possible to use the new monitor/strap with a Fenix2? Is that possible and/or likely? I love my Fenix2 and bought it after your review.

    • Aasen

      I have the same equipment, and can currently not see any good reasons for upgrading to fenix3 (or the others), but would really appreciate if Garmin could unblock the hr for the mio.

      Tested it in pool, and HR works perfectly for me, but cant use swim mode..

    • Moshik

      What’s the different between running and biking heart measurements with 3d to swim why in this Particular mode they block heart rate measuring? Aldose we have 910xt we still customers that in the future will upgrade, it’s remained me in old day the government block color T.V

  4. Henry

    Any pics of the new grey 920 and quick release kit? Will this work with the Felix 3?

    • Just added a pic in of the new grey 920XT (stock photo). The quick release kit hasn’t changed.

      As for the Fenix3, the quick release kit won’t work with that. But the straps absolutely do.

  5. Matthew

    I have a blue 920 arriving today, I saw this and thought argh – would have liked a black/grey one.
    I am surprised at myself though, as i think the blue is nicer. phew.

  6. David

    So, no option to buy the HRM-TRI pod with the HRM-SWIM strap?

    I’ve got plenty of non-swim straps. And I’d want running dynamics in an actual tri. But a lot of my swim training would be in a pool.

    I assume replacement swim straps will be available from Garmin. Do you have any info on pricing of those?

    Also, although they didn’t let you swim with these, did you at least get to try the store and forward by running away from a paired watch (with new FW I assume) and coming back into range?

  7. Cathy

    Given the history of the Garmin HR straps wearing out quickly, can these new HR units snap onto a Polar strap?

    • Matt B

      Even if they could, I believe a big part of these new swim/tri straps is the actual straps themselves (the “grippy” parts).

    • Dana

      What about the other way around though – can I snap my HRM-Run module onto a HRM-Tri strap?

    • Cathy

      Thankfully, being a chick has it’s advantages, and I have other means to keep the strap in place :-) My biggest problem with Garmin straps (sans the old skool hard-strap) is how long they last. I wish they would focus on making a more durable strap before taking on swim HR functionality.

      Looking forward to your thoughts once you hit the water with these new straps.

    • Toby

      I want to put my Polar pod on the Garmin strap :)

    • likependi

      It’s not gonna work!
      Like @GregTR pointed out below, you have to use the Garmin strap!

      “This sounds like the pod is removable from the strap but the pod should only work with said strap as it should not work with a strap that does not have an FCC-ID (identifier) on it. At least this is what Garmin claims.”

    • Lizzy

      I find the straps pretty uncomfortable with a sports bra though – so I got a bra with a built in HR sensor that I can snap my HRM-Run onto. What I want to know now is – could I potentially snap the HRM-Tri onto the bra and still get all the data?

    • Luke

      Total side comment, but what bra did you get?
      My wife has a single sports bra with an HRM attachment (I think from Victoria Secret) and it constantly reads her HR 10-15 beats higher than it is.

    • Lizzy

      This one: link to amazon.co.uk

      There isn’t really much in the way of choice, sadly, at least in the UK.

    • Chan

      Lizzy, wow, did not know this even existing. So you mean to tell me that the front two buttons on the sports bra are for the garmin soft strap little piece? Does that mean she wouldn’t use the actual strap anymore? (assuming she’s wearing the bra of course)

      I still have a hard strap. But my wife uses the soft strap.

      Sorry to bother you!

    • Lizzy

      Yep, the module from the soft strap just snaps onto the front of the bra, it’s brilliant! I used to wear the hard strap under my bra and it was pretty uncomfortable.

    • Theo

      Check to make sure that she’s putting the module on such that the left electrode on the bra still connects to the left snap post on the module (i.e. the one that’s on the left when it’s worn using the OEM strap, with the GARMIN lettering upright). If she’s wearing the HRM with the polarity reversed she may get more noise or other inconsistent readings.

    • Fwiw, Victoria Secret was (or perhaps still is) also making a bra that allows you to snap in a pod as well (any Polar/Garmin pod).

      I don’t seem to see it on their site anymore, but here were the details from this past winter: link to gearjunkie.com

    • Jan

      Just for your information:

      Decathlon has also a bra with connectors for heartrate sensors.

      France Site:
      link to decathlon.fr – actually 15 €

      UK Site:
      link to decathlon.co.uk – actually 10 £

      My wife uses one and is pleased.

    • Lizzy

      Thanks, I hadn’t seen that one. Though it’s more of a crop top than a bra so doesn’t have proper bra sizing sadly. Good price though, even for an odd colour.

    • Ali

      Was this ever answered? I hate the strap under the bra thing – and would love to use a bra with the built in snaps.

    • There are definitely bras with built-in snaps, but the HRM-TRI & HRM-SWIM aren’t compatible with it.

      Or were you asking about something else?

  8. Chris

    Will there be any indication that the watch is synced/getting live HR data? One situation I could see leading to loss of data is finishing a set, and hitting pause/save as soon as you get to the wall, before your watch and strap are both out of the water.

    Thanks as usual for the write-up!

  9. Thomaek

    Hi Ray, any news on the possibility of a Fenix 3 quick release kit?

    I asked this question on the Fenix 3 in-depth review page (which is probably the better place) the other day but somehow my comment didn’t make it onto the page….

    • Nothing new there unfortunately – really wish they’d so something.

      (As for the comment not showing up, odd, I didn’t see anything caught in spam. :()

    • Tim Kerby

      What I’d really like to see in terms of syncing is my Edge 1000 grabbing the data from my Fenix 3 as soon as I get on the bike in a multisport situation – effectively using the edge as a display (and possibly starting a course for navigation). That way you wouldn’t need to worry about mounts etc and could leave the Edge on the bike

    • Sander

      Awesome idea! Hope Garmin picks this up :)

    • Tim Kerby

      I’ve submitted it through the ideas page at link to www8.garmin.com

      Would be great (and increases the chances) if others do the same

  10. Niklas

    Ray! Will the HRM Swim work in an open water swim or just the pool swim?

    • It works anywhere you’d like: Pool, Openwater, On a bike, in an igloo, etc… But, it’s just that the strap isn’t as comfortable in non-swimming situations.

    • Tomi

      Does this really mean that this HRM Swim/Tri does record HRM also in other activity than Swimming, into its memory?
      I have been waiting this strap for purposes like motocross, floorball, etc where I do not care to carry watch with me, but just hit start and leave watch on bench/car due to risk of falling and break the watch.

  11. likepend1

    Never thought about a second/spare strap (always purchased the bundle), but boy they are expensive (99$/swim 129$/tri) ……
    i’m worried that the ‘sticky-part’ will wear out … so is it possible to connect the Garmin tri/swim-transmitter to the Polar strap?? (like the HRM-RUN transmitter)??

    thx for the quick look!!

  12. Martin

    What will be the price ray?

  13. Zan

    Do you think the sticky strap would fit a TICKR X pod? I’m guessing they’ll sell replacement straps eventually.

  14. Steve

    The killer feater of the SUUNTO “Smart Sensor” is, that you can use the “storing/memory” mechanism without the need of a watch (ambit3) … you just need a smartphone (with BT 4.0 app).
    that’s actually pretty nice … can’t do that with any other strap!

  15. Justin

    Any chance that Garmin will release a firmware update for the Garmin Swim to allow it to utilize the heart rate data? Or is there some hardware limitation (e.g., wrong ant+ chip in the watch) that would prevent that from happening?

    • It’s just a ‘deciding not to limitation’, not a hardware one. At this point, they’ve decided not to.

      Personally, I could see the case being made for the Vivoactive – since that has a swim function in it. Seems like a super-logical way to get customers to spend another $100 (on top of the $250ish they already spent). But nobody asked me.

    • Tyler

      Thumbs up for adding this capability to vivoactive.

    • Turn The Damn Cranks

      Agreed. As a Vivoactive owner, I’d be very tempted by this. If, that is, I could figure out how to use the dang thing to swim. Here’s my problem: After each interval, my watch goes into rest mode. So far, so good. But after 5 or so seconds, it concludes I am done with my workout and wants me to either save or delete my workout. There’s no way I can find to keep the timer running so I can take, say, a 10 or 20 second rest between intervals. What am I doing wrong? Or is it a software flaw? Thanks!

    • Chad

      My Vivoactive also had that issue during rest intervals…they must be really good swimmers who never rest more than 5 seconds! With the latest update it seems like it handles longer rest periods much better. The popups have stopped and the overall timer keeps going (so you can time your rest interval better).

      I have a Scosche Rhythm + on the way…hoping to get some live HR data while swimming…though it looks like I’ll have to use a run mode to capture it and lose the swim metrics. Would love to see the Vivoactive open the HR monitor channel in swim mode. Maybe I’ll use the Vivoactive for swim metrics and my old 210 with Scosche Rythmn + for HR.

    • Seth J K

      This is so frustrating. My scosche rhythm plus works great transmitting to my VivoActive in the water. (If I put it right next to the watch) There is only one app that it doesn’t work with… The swimming app. I can use the recorder app to record it as a generic activity and only get the heart rate, but that’s far from ideal. (unfortunately the swim function on the recorder app doesn’t work.) They could allow hr data for the native swimming app sooooooooooo easily. When firmware 3.10 came out, I was dismayed to see that the improvement wasn’t made. Lame… Come on Garmin!

    • Jamie Belcher

      I would buy a strap if it worked on the Garmin Swim. Would be really useful for in the pool when I am training.

    • Jess F-T

      Amen on adding it to the Vivoactive.

      I’m a tri-wife who’s done a couple of sprints and am never going to be a serious athlete, but i love my tech and the Vivoactive is by far the best fitnesstracker/smartwatch on the market which doesn’t cost the earth or look ridiculous worn to an office on my slender wrist.

      Such a shame they’ve limited this capacity, even without the multi-sport option it still would be useful to know my HRM pattern over time. Fingers crossed Garmin rate your opinion as highly as I do DC Rainmaker.

    • Kate

      Was just searching around for info on getting a heart rate monitor that’ll sync with my vivoactive during swims and came across your review … super bummer on the vivoactive! I’m a recreational multi-sporter and I’d describe myself as a pretty serious swimmer (in terms of frequency, distance and strokes), but I don’t need or want all the additional metrics of a dedicated tri or swim system. Moreover, the vivoactive is a pretty slick little all-around activity & fitness tracker. I’d just like to be able to track my heart rate in the pool, particularly during kick sets.

  16. Marco

    Garmin will extend support to this HRM-SWIM also to the Garmin Swim watch?

  17. Simon

    Lately my Garmin 310XT, whilst in Swim mode, has been picking up a heart rate trace from my old style Garmin heart rate strap worn under my wetsuit.

    Do you think there will be any update to the Garmin Swim to pick up data from the HRM-SWIM?

  18. Chris

    I’ve been using something called a SwimStrap with a Polar transmitter and it works rather perfect.
    link to swimstrap.fi

  19. Jennifer

    Still hoping for a triathlon watch that integrates a Mio Link optical HRM. This seems like it would be a better solution, don’t you think?

  20. Is there any possibility of firmware upgrade for Fenix 2 or 910XT (the latest being pretty old)? I’d like to use the HRM-TRI strap on these perfectly valid and functioning watches.


    Where can I buy some of the “sticky stuff” to put on my regular elastic HRM band?
    It slips down when I am running hard and seating a lot. I could use sew-on or stick-on.

    • Kevdwyer

      Just had a thought, I use a TENS machine for pain relief. It has two reasonable size sticky pads which adhere to my skin really well.
      The pads have retained their stickiness for several months.
      I’m pretty sure that you can buy the pads separately, might be worth a try.

  22. Tim Kerby

    Interesting note from the Garmin site:

    Pool chemical resistent: no

    Pool chemical resistent: yes

    • Happy Runner

      That is huge. Good catch.

    • Jose

      So… we need both straps. One for open water and the other one for the pool. If we have a Garmin Swim (I use it in the pool as it is more comfortable than my 920xt and I do not get in panic if I hit the lane rope) watch it won’t work…I think that I will not open my wallet to this.

  23. Chris

    How often does the sync occur? If I stand up at the end of a few lengths for 10s on a ‘recovery’ lap? When I’m in T1 off the swim? Will the sync ‘freeze’ the watch for any time?

    Or does the sync only occur once I stop the activity?

  24. Jason Whelan

    I really like the black/grey 920xt. Do you know if Garmin will offer black/grey replacement straps that I can replace on my Black/Blue 920xt?

  25. Omar A

    I guess I won’t see the next version of a 920xt or Fenix device with a built-in optical HR strap. Assuming i don’t care about HR while swimming, how long will I have to wait to get rid of all the HR straps in my cycling, running, step counting life?

  26. Jani


    Any ideas does those also support recording Heart rate variability (HRV)? And if so, for how long?

  27. the5krunner

    I would have thought it supports HRV. Very likely.
    Valencell are predicting optical HRV for 2015, not sure if that was from them

  28. Wyatt

    Anyone else find the blue HRM-TRI pod a little weird? You may end up looking like Iron Man in your Ironman if you’re racing with one of those in a white tri-top lol.

    • The REAL Tim

      I thought the same exact thing about Iron Man!! I guess it would probably be a little weird to do a race in a red Iron Man mask and with the blue HRM showing, but then again…

  29. Sylvester Jakubowski

    The leaked page from yesterday seemed to imply the forwarded data would work with the Fenix 2?

  30. morey

    This is when I get to post (again, sorry) about how well my Mio Link works in the pool with my Ambit 2. I wear it just a couple inches away from my watch on my arm, and get full, real-time HR while swimming. Yes- I can check my HR when coming off the wall- under water. :)

    You do need to set up a new Swim sport mode (I call mine SwimHR) and check the box to look for an HR strap, as the built-in swim mode won’t inherently look for a strap. But that’s stupid easy to do.

    • Gunnar9090

      Ya, the Suunto scenario to me is the best answer. I think optical HR while swimming would appeal and work better for most people.

      You can see the HR while swimming and you don’t look foolish in the pool with a chest strap.

    • Alex Masidlover

      I’m using the Ambit3 + Mio Link in the pool; I didn’t even need to change any settings…

      Also, I have used the 310XT and FR60 in the pool (no swimming metrics obviously) and for those the watch face needed to be on the same side of the wrist as the link – with the Suunto Ambit3 the watch face can be on the opposite side of my wrist. This suggests either the BLE signal is slightly stronger than ANT+ (or travels through water better, but I suspect this is not the case as they are so close in frequency) or the Ambit3’s receiver is better.

    • hrishi

      In your SwimHR mode, do you get both HR data as well as the swim metrics (strokes etc)?

    • StephanK

      I tried to set-up a custom swim mode. Movescount either lets me:
      1. Set up a generic sport with HR capabilities and no swimming metrics
      2. Set up a pool swim mode with no HR pairing

      Is there a way to combine the two (HR and swimming metrics)?

  31. GregTR


    Are the pods actually integrated into the straps? Their FCC filing seem to have indicated that. Does it mean that when the straps wear out you need to get a new pod as well? At $130 it seems like a rather expensive replacement cost.

    • Tim Kerby

      Have you got a link to the FCC filing?

    • Luke

      I was wondering the same thing: is it possible to pop out the pod (which has the memory) and put it in a different actual band?

    • GregTR

      Here is the FCC filing: link to fccid.io

      Two things of interest are:

      1) “Garmin believes that the location of the identifiers is permanently attached to the unit. The identifiers are located on the far end of the mounting strap. The identifier are molded into the strap material and are therefore partof the strap. The unit is mechanically affixxed to the mounting strap. The mounting strap must be used in order for accurrate data to be collected by the unit. The unit will not provide the end-user accurate data if separated from the mounting strap. The unit is intended to be only operated while attacched to the mounting strap. When ised as intended, the unit will be connecte to the strap which contains the identifiers.”

      This sounds like the pod is removable from the strap but the pod should only work with said strap as it should not work with a strap that does not have an FCC-ID on it. At least this is what Garmin claims. They also say that the pod is “mechanically affixed” which does not say whether it’s permanent or removable but it is implied that it is removable.

      “The transmitter circuitry and circuit board is identical in each model. The primary difference between these two models is the way that they are used by the consumer. A02293 is intended for use in a dry environment and B02293 is intended for use in a wet environment. However, the functions of the supporting PCBs are the same and the transmitter characteristics are identical.”

      It sounds like the boards are identical between the HR-SWIM and HR-TRI they just simply run different firmwares to omit running dynamics from the HR-SWIM and to price discriminate between the two. Engineers are lazy, they would hate to develop and test two different boards/devices.

  32. Ian

    Hi Ray.

    When you are confirming if you can use the “Mio Link with my FR920XT/Fenix3/Epix to get HR data while swimming”, can you also confirm if that works with the Scosche Rhythm+ too?

    I have used Fenix 3 with with Scosche for OWS no problem, so I guess we just need a firmware update to allow the Fenix 3 to include HR in the Pool profile?

  33. Mark S

    Hey Ray,

    Here’s one to check when you get one in real life: My tickr x works fine in freshwater. Saltwater (sea swim) nada, zilch, nothing. Can make a few guesses why but would be interesting to know if the garmin straps work or not..

  34. Gabe

    wow the black 920xt we always wanted.

    contemplating to return my fenix 3 now.

    I’d wear the black out in public

  35. Eric

    Maybe I missed it but when it the expected release date of the 920xy tri bundle?

  36. Tyler

    My friend has always wanted swimming HR for training, but I always ask him what actionable decisions/modifications to training he’ll make with that info.

    Is there are any evidence-based training for swimming by heart rate?
    Particularly since the sensors have been lacking to this point?

    • the5krunner

      why would it be different to, for example, HR based run training?

    • morey

      Well, there’s always TRIMP scores to work with.

      but more pragmatically- when I’m doing a long set, I’ll have a particular HR in mind that I know I can sustain. It keeps me from going out too fast… or more likely, gets me to work a little harder when I see that I’m below my target for the set.

      I could go on with other examples- but for the most part, if you’re used to using your HR as a metric of intensity (with all the associated caveats), it’s just great data to have… in real time. I guess afterwards is nice as well. For instance- were you able to complete a 500m set in a faster time at a lower HR? a measure of efficiency and fitness.

    • for running or biking I see the value in HR training as I can look at the watch / device and see what my HR is and be able to go faster / slow down if I am not in the correct range… when swimming looking at my watch while swimming is not really possible, at the wall you could and then make corrections but it would not be “real time” and would want to see how it displayed on the watch before spending another 130 on a HR….


      Any idea how this transfers to TP? The swim data that is in TP is fairly worthless compared what is shown in garmin connect… my coach already think wearing a watch in the pool is stupid but she is a swimmer and… I am a geeky runner in the pool that looses count of laps beyond 5.

    • the5krunner

      ah my bad, for some reason I was reading it as swimming being different to run/bike. doh!.

      As Ray probably knows there are various devices coming to market that allow HR display in goggles. Also if there are vibration (or audio!?) alerts that are linked the HR swim levels then that is where you will get your actionable in-exercise info.

      TRIMP – yes that is the area i am personally interested in and where I will (and already do) use swim-hr.

    • I’m about 85% sure that TrainingPeaks actually already supports swimming HR, since Polar/Suunto devices have had it. I’ll dig up an file from those and triple-check.

    • the5krunner

      sporttracks too already support HR with the pool swim plugin.

      Also my previous comment about alerts while swimming is of course nonsense. how would the signal get to the watch !! double-doh.

    • Well My Mio Alpha perfectlty works in a pool and you can configure HR zones.
      You will hear an alert when going to high or too low + readable HR (I mean HUGE characters size and only one field) and a red/blue led to signal the zone.

      But personaly I admit I do not train with HR for swimming yet.

    • Jørn

      I use Garmin’s autosync feature to sync with Trainingpeaks.

      The heart rate data is apparently lost. Trainingpeaks just shows the session stats (avg/max heart rate), but no heart rate graph

  37. Miro Lehky

    Also wondering if the this new Tri HR Strap addresses the chaffing issue or the old straps.

    • Likely, and is likely one of the reasons the pods are swappable – as the pod is actually what causes the chaffing (it’s the pod pressing against the strap into your chest after the strap has dried salty edges on it that causes the chaffing).

  38. Terry

    It kills me that Garmin notes that the HRM-Tri is not pool chemical resistant (last bullet feature on their HRM-Tri product description page). I don’t live in the tropics and I don’t know a lot of triathletes who train exclusively in open water.

    • Matt B

      My guess is it is neither more or less pool chemical resistant than any other standard HRM strap, but they put that point on there to drive sales of both of their new HRMs instead of people just going with the Tri version.

    • Luke

      This website (link to buy.garmin.com) makes it seem like the HRM-Tri will be fine in chlorine, but might not stay on as well (why they say you need a tri kit for pool triathlons).

    • Agree, I think it’s just a generic thing they’ve stuck in warnings. I’d personally ignore it.

    • Kate

      I called Garmin on this and the Swim Model has more of a Rubber Strap that does better in the Pool. The Tri Model is fine for the pool, the strap just may not hold up as well over time. I’m sure there will be an option in the future to purchase replacement straps (or Garmin will usually send for free).

  39. Oisin

    Really strange that Garmin did not decide to go with an FR225-like IR solution i.e. their own MIO Link.
    The drawbacks with the strap are pretty hard to live with when you consider how well the alternative works.
    I wonder if a Garmin Swim with IR like an FR225 is on the way?

    • Gunnar9090

      Yes, a Mio or Scosche scenario would have been the way to go in my opinion. I’ve used my Scosche Rythym with my Ambit 3 and it works great for swimming.

  40. Tom K

    I really hope they will release a firmware upgrade for the Garmin Swim, I know it was/is a cheap watch and all, but it still by far the lightest and quickest to swim with. Even though I have multiple watches from Garmin with swim / lap support I still very much prefer the light and easy Swim

    • Allan

      +1 for updating the Swim to support these new straps, although I’m not optimistic given that this model is a bit dated now. It’d be a great way to get me to shell out an extra $100 on something Garmin. The Swim uses ANT+ for data transfer, so it should be theoretically possible, although there may be issues with available storage capacity or whatnot.

      It’s a shame my Fenix 2 isn’t supported, either — and that my only option is to shell out over $500 or do without.

      What are the odds that Garmin will introduce a lower-priced “Swim 2” that replaces the Swim and bundles in the HRM-SWIM?

  41. It’s a bit confusing about the TRI version, and whether it can be used in the pool or not. Obviously not all uses of a tri watch are in the open water. I’ll await others’ reviews of how this actually works before considering swapping out my current 920XT HRM for a new one.

  42. Chan

    I too am wondering on the tri vs swim functionality.
    Hopefully it can be cleared up. I think worst case i’d get the swim version. Can’t be more uncomfortable than a hard strap, right? (I’m still using a hard strap)

  43. Craig

    Very interesting, look forward to reading your thoughts of them on test. Especially HRM-TRI, would HR data be viewable on the 920XT directly after a swim? I’m thinking of a race situation where you could then gauge effort and HR while on bike and run.

  44. Jeremy

    I am loving the new black and grey color for 920xt. Just wish they would have released that color first since I own the blue and black.

  45. Gordon Christie

    my scosche HRM works fine[or at least provide me with as much info i need] in the water with my garmin as long as i wear it so both are out of the water frequently during my swim.

  46. ivan david

    then garmin will not launch shortly an optical sensor 920XT watch?

  47. Gonzalo Adolfo Jimenez Murcia Leviatanh


    Do the swimming heart rate straps: HRM-SWIM & HRM-TRI support: Training Effect, Recovery Advisor, VO2, etc for swimming.

    • Julian Meldrum

      Yes – I’ve used the HRM swim strap in the pool and the Training Effect and Recovery Advisor both show up in the same way as for run or bike sessions. However, VO2 is likely to be more complicated – the bike estimate depends on using a power meter, and I’d guess a swim version might need to be stroke specific.

  48. Tisztul_A_Visztula

    Poor Epix! Its in-depth review is overtaken by announcement of better Garmin products.

  49. sfdye

    Is there gonna be a quick release kit for Fenix 3?

  50. Paul Martin

    Does the HRM-TRI have the same shorter strap (like the HRM-SWIM) with an optional extender? I do hope so.

    My wife & I do IM and she finds the standard Garmin HRM-RUN far too long – this might be the perfect solution.

  51. Rob

    When will the new Tri Bundle (inc Black 920XT) be available in the UK?

  52. Dave Lusty

    Hi Ray, you say the swim has a slightly thicker pod than others, does this imply there may be extra gubbins ready for a swim dynamics or improved stroke detection? For instance, it could easily detect body roll from that position, and would be able to better tell the difference between front crawl and butterfly as well as knowing if you’re on your front or back. All of this is very hard on the wrist but trivial with torso data. I’d be surprised if nothing like this is planned, as there would then be very little point in having the less capable swim pod when the strap is the differentiator.
    I realise you can’t mention if you know about swim dynamics, but confirmation that the pod actually is a different size would be nice, as would confirmation as to whether they are removable from the strap.
    thanks as always for the article!

  53. Dave Lusty

    I just noticed the Garmin page says Yes for running dynamics on the Swim. Presumably a typo at their end?

  54. Chris

    Hi Ray

    Considering that the industry is likely moving towards optical heart rate sensors integrated into the watch (which I understand works well under water), I was wondering if that would make these HR straps obsolete in a fairly short time.

    Also, why did they not let you test the straps properly (i.e. in the water)? Was it just logistics, or are these still prototypes?

  55. Igor Khromov

    HR-SWIM fully support Running dynamics ?

  56. likependi

    I’m a little bit confused!?!?! GARMIN RECOMMENDATION!!!
    – The Tri: openwater only or in the pool (with triathlon-kit).
    Can be used for Run/Bike/Swim!!!
    – The Swim: pool/open water.
    Can be used for “Runs or bike rides as part of a multi-sport activity that includes a pool swim”!! So no other activities are supported? Or will it be uncomfortable to wear it during runs/bikes???

    I hope that’s just a recommendation and will not limit the use of the swim??

  57. Kevin

    The battery is replaceable?

  58. avinoam swissa

    Is the HRM-SWIM going to work with the VIVO-ACTIVE watch?

  59. Faz Zamani

    As a female athlete would I be ok with just the HRM-TRI band (with use in the pool as well)?

  60. Tripp Knightly

    1) I can’t believe they thought it’s a good idea to have 2 different models depending on application and foment purchase quandary. Why not instead have a base model and allow a swap out to the other strap… or just have both straps one unit and be done with it?

    2) I’m yet to try my MioLink in the pool since not a huge swimmer. But it really pisses me off that watch mfrs would hobble connectivity completely for swim the way they have. I mean, just make it an advanced feature with a YMMV warning.

    3) Straps are old school, unless you’re into bondage.

  61. Steven Shaw

    I really like the new colour of 920xt but I still suspect I will get a fenix 3 as a replacement fir my 910xt. Will the hrm-tri be shipped as a bundle with the fenix 3?

  62. Francis Paulin

    Hi Ray, do you know if it will be possible to get real time HR during a swim workout whilst having a rest at the poolside, with both the strap and watch above water?

  63. Mark

    Hi. Thanks for the coverage. I’ve just got a couple of (related) questions. Do the hrm monitors not detach from the straps? If they do, then what’s the advantage of the bundle as offered, over an hrm-tri and a swim strap?

  64. Caroline

    I could never get my Polar V800 to pick up hr data in the pool and the tech support suggested it was because there was too much chlorine. So a pod that saves the data to transmit later seems ideal to me. I couldn´t look and swim at the same time anyway.

  65. Weber Rong

    Hi Ray, do you know what kind of battery is HRM-SWIM and HRM-TR1 is using? Since these new sensors need record and transmit heart rate data, I suppose normal CR2032 (300mAh) battery will not last for long. Another question is, are they going to make these HRM compatible to my “OLD” Fenix 2 (Garmin makes your GPS watch growing old rapidly) ?

    • David Lusty

      CR2032 battery, it doesn’t say anything about life but I’d assume a little shorter than the normal HRM-Run as it’s storing more info. The claim is only 20 hours worth though so this may well be in RAM (volatile) which wouldn’t up the usage much. If they are using flash storage (non-volatile) it would have a fair impact. These are dirt cheap batteries though so not a problem either way.

  66. Paul

    You’ve all missed the main point of the article, how much are flights to Barcelona…

  67. Paulo

    I wonder if the transfer time between the HRM and 920XT is short enough. In a triathlon situation, shortly after you get out of the water, you press LAP to switch to T1. Will the transfer happen in parallel? Will the watch know that there is a transfer in progress and AT THE SAME TIME provide realtime reading of the current HR? Usually at T1 I check my HR and compare to my general feeling to know how to approach the early stage of the bike split.

    • David

      You are talking about a trivial amount of data. A heart rate is a single byte (range 0 to 255). Multiply that by 10 for timestamp and other overhead. Now if you record heart rate every second for an hour you only have 36KB of data. I can’t remember the exact burst rate of ANT-FS but you are talking seconds.

      Plus realize it does not have to transfer every sample at the moment it regains signal, it just has to transfer a summary to your watch and then it can backfill as time allows.

      I don’t think this is a very large processing burden on the HRM strap, it just has to have 2 channels, one dedicated to real time and one dedicated to bursts of backfill data.

      It should happen in parallel because the Garmin engineers could pick a different ant channel (frequency) for the backfill than for the the ANT+ HR data.


  68. Oisin

    Anyone tried a Mio Link or RHYTHM+ in pool-swim mode on the new firmware? Does it work?

  69. Ok – here’s a slew of round-up questions and answers following confirmation from Garmin folk. Where quotes are, they are exact responses. I’ve backfilled this into the FAQ section above as well.

    A) Compatibility with the Mio Link and the Fenix3/Epix/FR920XT within the swim mode. The context of the question was whether that’d work, assuming signal was NOT lost (worn right next to watch on wrist):

    “Yes, if the Mio Link (ANT+) sees the 920XT the whole time, then it will work with the 920XT same as ever. However, the HRM-Tri and Swim were made to work for the special case of swimming with a 920XT, so even though the Mio Link can store HR it wouldn’t have the programming on its side to work with the 920XT for store-and-forward uses such as when you come up at the end of the interval or save the activity at the end of your swim (where the HRM-Swim/Tri will work with the 920XT to stitch all the data back in with your activity).”

    (DCR Comment): Note however that backfill (when the device captures HR data during periods of non-connectivity), won’t work with the Mio Link, or any other straps on the market today since they don’t yet support that capability. In this cases, it would just show a dropout.

    B) Regarding whether the new storage-capable straps are done in a ‘private’ (private-ANT) or ‘public’ (ANT-FS) method:

    “The public ANT-FS spec is used to download the stored HR data. Garmin has optimized the ANT-FS transfer using some manufacturer-specific information, but it is still possible for another device to access the ANT-FS directory and download the files.”

    (DCR comment): The reason this matters to you as a consumer is that it means that someone else could develop a strap, or, in cases such as the Wahoo TICKR X, it could potentially be updated to work with the swim watches. Additionally, it also means other non-Garmin devices/watches could be updated to download information from the straps.

    C) Can someone take just the HRM-SWIM to the pool (and leave their compatible watch in a swim locker), and then download the swim afterwards? Or will it only work when an activity is started in conjunction with the watch?

    “Essentially, yes. However, you have to start the timer on the watch first (an activity needs to be created to tie the HR data to).”

    D) Is it correct that the watch and strap must be above water prior to starting the activity so they can sync? Or can that happen after the fact as long as the watch was paired once to the device?

    “They actually do not have to see each other prior to starting the activity, but yes, they will have to have been paired once.” (Note: There still must be an activity started per the previous question).

    E) Regarding compatibility of other Garmin products with the HRM-TRI and HRM-SWIM, here’s why they aren’t doing each product (in their own words):

    “Garmin Swim: There is not enough memory to support Garmin swim capability
    Vivoactive: The HRM Tri/Swim are viewed as being of interest to a more advanced user who would be purchasing a 920XT or fenix 3 (vs a vivoactive that offers basic features for swimming)
    FR910XT & Fenix2: Since the fenix 2 and FR910XT are older models it was decided to have our internal resources focus on other products for compatibility and any potential troubleshooting. There is no planned software update that would add compatibility for fenix 2 or the 910”

    Part 1 (End)

    Part 2 will cover all of the strap/module questions…as soon as I get the answers back shortly.

    • Peter K

      Its really not clear any where- are the pods removable?? Seems to be low blow to sell the same pod twice just too get two different straps… (I imagine someone in marketing got a raise for that idea though!)

    • (That’s the part I’ll cover in Part 2, as soon as I get the rest of the answers to my questions covering it).

    • Matt J

      Hi Ray, sorry to be a bother but did Garmin ever get back to you on the strap / module questions? I’m particularly interested in whether the pods are interchangeable or not and whether Garmin will sell replacement straps.

    • Nuttin. Just sent over a poke a few seconds ago after your note.

  70. jolaca

    But, about ‘A’ some people is reporting that the optical monitors do work while swimming after the firmware update but then all hr data is not uploaded or at least not displayed on the recorded session on Garmin Connect!! :-((

    • I’d guess that falls into one of three camps (though I only see one comment on the Garmin Forums of someone trying it and failing):

      A) There are dropouts occurring, which could be possible depending on the configuration (i.e. too far away and reception is lost)
      B) There’s just kinks to workout in the whole process still for 3rd party sensor data being collected.
      C) Garmin Connect (public side/non-beta) isn’t yet updated to show that data since the HRM-TRI/SWIM straps aren’t yet shipping and thus they may not have considered it an issue yet.

      Just my guess. If C is the issue, then I’d pick another 3rd party site/app – and even consider trying to change it to something like a Running activity type, since that would have HR data displayed. I believe also you could use FitFileTools.com to validate the data channels shown within the stripper tool.

    • Gunnar

      Ya. I think that was my post on the Garmin fenix 3 forum regarding swim HR data missing.

      I can confirm I had HR during the swim as I had it as a data field along with temperature and neither HR or temperature data is visible in either Garmin Connect or Strava.

      Hopefully it’s “C” that’s the issue and they can update GC to accept third party HR data.

    • B is the issue. I have just tried a new activity out of the water, but in the pool profile. So there were no dropouts and the FC showed fine all the time. But there is no HR data on the FIT file. So I guess this comes in the “HOWEVER” case noted by the Garmin folk, and the watch needs to receive the data in the “store-and-forward” method.

      HR displayed on the screen? YES
      Data recorded on the file for later analysis? NO

      The way I see it there is only two ways that could work. Either Garmin allows the data to be written “on the fly” during the activity, which I think is a no-go because the way they have designed their strap; or Mio/Scosche update the firmware of their devices, which I don’t know if it would be possible as I don’t recall them having memory to store the data (Alpha does, but it doesn’t have ANT+ anyway).

      I guess Garmin have well protected their R&D, at least for know, until someone releases an optical sensor with store-and-forward capabilities. But by then, people needing their HR in the pool would already be using Garmin own solution (or Polar or Suunto already).

      In any case, we still have to wait to see swim HR data on Garmin watches.

    • Well, that’s assuming you want ANT-FS (store/forward). But in this case, Garmin is stating that it should work with just regular collection via normal ANT+. For that, shouldn’t require any changes on 3rd party devices.

      I’ll shoot over a note this weekend after I try it to see if they can troubleshoot.

    • I only had planned a long run for tomorrow, but I’ll try to hit an open water activity to check it also on that profile. I’ll take an Ambit3 also, in case I get data recorded, to compare it.

    • Leandro Sgallari

      Do you have any update?
      I’m using a fenix 3 with a Mio fuse and I can see the data on the Fenix screen, I don’t have drop connections I can see the data all the time. But no data is stored on the watch and I have no hr data on Garmin Connect

    • If you use the indoor swimming profile it doesn’t record the HR. But it does just fine if it is an open water activity: link to connect.garmin.com

      As I was pointed out by a forum member at Garmin, it seems that the open water app already recorded the HR, so it seems the only update so far has been the availability of HR data screens for the swimming profiles, but nothing else has changed.

      I wonder if it would work fine with one of the new Garmin sensors with store and forward function, or if Garmin is aware of this and they just need to continue developing the swimming apps.

  71. SurlyWill

    I hope they offer the extender by itself. My strap will stretch around my chest … but it gets too stretched out to stay straight.

  72. Artem

    I’m curious if the new straps can transfer the HR data if the watch was placed literary right next to the pod underwater? Of if, during a longer open water swim, you just flip on your back to expose the pod in the air, even if for a few moments, to get the reading?

  73. Fab

    Does the HRM Tri collect any different data for cycling activities compared to Hrm Run?

  74. hope the Garmin Fenix 3 will be bundled with the Garmin HRM-TRI from now onwards instead of the current HRM-RUN here in south east asia. hurmm. prices here are still a bit steep, for RM2550 which is around USD671

  75. Rodolfo Ruiz

    Any ideas why the DCR10LFW code is not valid on the clevertraining.com site? I tried ordering the strap bundle and I get the “Coupon code “DCR10LFW” is not valid.” message.


  76. Henry Wang


    Will the black 920xt be offered as a standalone product?

  77. Matt Conrad

    Does the HRM-Tri store and forward in cycle and run modes as the TickrX does? I’d like to use it for track cycling where you can’t have a watch on your wrist?

    • Anonymous Coward

      Regardless of the bike/run store/forward support, you could treat the track cycling session just as a very dry and fast swim set and then change the activity type in Garmin Connect etc. after the upload. Or use fitsed or such to change the FIT file activity type directly.

  78. Felix

    >> Does this mean I can now use the Mio Link with my FR920XT/Fenix3/Epix to get HR data while swimming?

    > In short, yes.

    Well, I actually doubt this. I installed the new 5.2 Firmware on my FR920XT yesterday and while there are actually newly options for adding HR datafields to the swim activity and while it actually receives and displays HRM Data during the running avtivity it seems that there ist no recording of a HR data in the activity afterwards. This is just like before when you where able to use a HR sensor in the swim activity with a connect iq datafield to show the HR but not record it (at least in indoor mode).

    I don’t own a MIO link for obvious reasons- this is just useless for me till today but I would buy one if garmin finally allowed to record AND display hr data in the swim activity. But I think as the mio is just a normal ant+ hrm sensor just like the garmin hrm2 e.g. it should work the same way in a swim activity.

  79. Martin

    Hi and thanks for a great article.

    Can you use the HRM-TRI for pool swimming without it sliding off you chest? (wearing only shorts)

    Dont wonna bye them both

    Best regards Martin

  80. Mostly off topic… has the Vivoactive been updated to fix/improve its swim monitoring? Maybe lower-end swim support is just isn’t important or lucrative for Garmin given the direction they went with these submersible heart rate straps.

  81. Dave Lusty

    Someone on the 920XT forum saw these at Ride London and confirmed the pods are not removable. Massive fail from Garmin in my opinion – that’s a very expensive replacement when the strap gets damaged. Not that their replacement straps are reasonably priced anyway, but to require the whole thing to be replaced is crazy!

  82. Squiggle

    Currently have the Garmin Swim and get a little frustrated having to pause the watch at the end of each interval during a set. Is there any thought to utilise the sensors in the watch to identify when no swimming is occurring and thus not having to pause the watch? The nature of my reps is such that I sometimes have minimal time between reps and having to focus on pausing the watch impacts upon my recovery between reps (say when doing 50 50’s on 50). Is this rectified in the 920XT as the manual does not go into much detail.

    I’m looking forward to matching heart rate to my swimming training and identifying issues with my training and identifying optimum recovery periods.

  83. Chan

    So I don’t mean to add fuel to the fire but …. my wife just clued me in to the existence of “Ampstrip”

    Don’t know the policy on links so I’m sorry if not allowed. I’m not affiliated with Ampstrip.
    link to indiegogo.com

    At any rate. They’re supposed to store your heart rate and sync via Bluetooth LE (BLE). Supposed to work in swim and open water workouts. The adhesive does wear out and you can buy replacement strips.

    Seems really interesting and starts at $135 on Indiegogo …

    Maybe that can be a workaround for some? I know it’s not Ant+

  84. Leandro Sgallari

    Will Garmin update the pool swim app so we can use any ant+ device (like mio) to save our swim data? I made the update to fenix 3 4.20 and still with no hr data saved on the watch. I can see the data but it’s not saved on the watch file.

  85. Jon Wood

    I only get 3-4 years life out of a regular Garmin HRM belt, cycling ~5hrs/week, seems that sweat ingress is the problem. Hope this is better sealed given its application. Any other ANT+ belts recommended (above water use only) ?

    • Jon Wood

      Am I expecting too much? Less than 1000hrs? Even to get that far, both have required frequent remedial treatment, taking batteries out, spraying with WD40, drying with a fan heater. Previous analogue transmitter was still going strong at 12 years. Just wondering how long these will last as they face a tougher environment.

    • Yeah, 3-4 years would seem pretty reasonable to me actually (and, even, pretty darn good). It would depend on the usage of course.

      Put another way, I rarely hear of folks using Garmin/Polar straps that last more than 2-3 years a shot.

    • Chris noland

      If I ever get a full year out of a Garmin Strap I think I might have a heart attack…

  86. TriLili

    I use a Garmin 220 and a Garmin Edge 500 and/or 810 for my triathlon competitions. Will the new HRM tri strap transmit the heart rate in those devices? THANK YOU!

  87. Thank you very much for this review! I have been looking to read more info about both straps. Really looking forward to use the new straps, especially the blue one.

  88. Praneeth

    Thanks much for detailed reviews on the tri gear! I make it a ritual to go through your reviews before buying something.
    I have a related question on the review which I couldn’t find. Does the HRM-TRI provide all the metrics as the ones from HRM-Run?

  89. Simon Kidd

    I’m not sure Ive understood the current position of the 920xt with swimming
    If using a device like Mio Link for pool swimming or open water swimming (assuming its right next to the watch).

    A. Can you see HR in real time now for both pool and ow ?
    B. Is the HR data included in the FIT files now for both ow and pool?

    C. In theory you could set up swim workouts based on HR and use zone alarms ?


    (sorry might be guilty of posting this is the wrong section)

  90. Mike

    To be clear …
    Will the end user be able to see this data in GCM after the activity?
    If not ….. this is very silly.

  91. Luka Mežan

    Couple questions…

    Will Fenix 3 with swim/tri strap ever be able to show (current – real life) HR during swimming?

    Can Fenix 3 work (even better perhaps) with other brand straps under water? Again – any real live data to see?

    Congrats on your review (s)…read them a lot, and must say you are really awesome!

    Best regards,

    • Leandro Sgallari

      I actually can see the real life hr data in the Fenix 3. I have a mio fuse hr. But with the pool profile this data is not saved in the session.

  92. Luka Mežan

    Yes, but that means buying smthng extra – in this case, mio fuse….
    A watch like Fenix 3, should do that by its self….its expensive enough ;)

  93. Phoelix

    Hi Ray,
    Good review! Wondering if you have a picture that shows HRM-Tri pod next to the HRM-Run pod?
    Curious to know how much bigger (thicker) the Tri pod is.


  94. As an FYI to folks, I finally got answers back on the pod changeability (well, officially confirming what others suspected), plus a few other random things I was confirming. Answers added to FAQ, and below:

    Q: How is the battery changed (and what type)?

    A: Like all existing Garmin HR staps, the battery is a CR2032 and user replaceable with a small Phillips screwdriver.

    Q: If the strap itself wears, can that portion be changed?

    A: The pod does not detach so it is not possible to replace just the strap portion. Garmin says: “This design enables a fully sealed connection between the electrodes and the processor, a requirement for reliable computation of heart rate underwater. It also enables a sleeker form factor for good stay-up performance.”

    Q: Does the HRM-Swim also do Running Dynamics?

    A: No, however, the HRM-Tri is designed for occasional pool use for this reason.

  95. Flo Loferer

    Hi Ray,

    thanks for your information.

    do you know if the HRM-Tri will also store HR-Data with other activities than swimming.

    for example all team sports (soccer, basketball, etc) where i can not wear a watch during an official game.

    will running dynamics data be synced afterwards too or is it just for HR-Data.

    thanks for your help

    kr Flo

    • Flo Loferer


      can anyone give me some informations on this?

      Will this work?

      Thanks for your help
      kr Flo

    • All HRM data is stored on the HRM until downloaded. so you for a run session *DO* get PACE, VO, GTC, CADENCE and HR all from the HRM-TRI…just done it myself. Presumably too all the advanced RUNNING DYNAMICS metrics that are about to be released for the 630 too ;-)

  96. DT

    I bought the SWIM and it works. There is one problem, since I use it, all my swimming workouts using it do not sync with Training Peaks. They do sync with Garmin Connect but those are the only ones that do not go to TP. I called Garmin and they said that the problem is from TP. I contacted TP and they said the problem is with Garmin. Anybody had this problem or can help? Ray, any suggestions? Thank you!

  97. DT

    Ray, on my last question re the Swim, I am guessing that CT would accept a return if Garmin or TP don’t give me any solution to the problem of no sync between GC and TP when I use is for swimming, right?

  98. DT

    Ray, I appreciate all your help and support!!

  99. s singh

    Any insights as to how the more hirsute chested of us would fare with the HRM-Swim stickiness?

    I don’t imagine it being an issue with open water swims, since I’m practically always in a wetsuit then…which should help keep things in place. But concerned the tackiness/hair/skin combo for pool swims.

  100. Monteiro

    Looking forward to the day when the 920XT will be able to record the HR data captured by the Mio Link into the activity. Being able to read the HR while swimming is good but far less important than analyzing the data later on.

  101. John K

    Using 920XT (version 5.20) with Mio Link. I use the Mio Link when I don’t feel like donning chest strap or I forget to pack it and it works well for bikes and runs.

    Used it after update for a OWS and pool swim. I saw HR data on Garmin Connect for the OWS but not the pool swim.

    HR data looked good for the OWS but it was under wet suit (next to watch). I could not review HR data for pool swim since it did not upload but it seemed erratic when coming to rest. Had the Mio Link as tight as possible.

  102. Joshua

    Will swim heart rate data upload to trainingpeaks just like my other metrics?

  103. David Z.

    As a swimmer with poor form, any chance that I’ll get calorie estimates that don’t assume I have perfect form and I’m slacking off?

  104. GezaB

    Hi Ray,

    great review as always

    Is there any update re Mio Link vs 920xt in pool swimming?
    As per previous comments I can see my HR on the watch it just doesn’t go to the fit file however the OWS HR data goes to the fit file

    • Alistair

      I just tried this today on software version 5.20 and still no luck – visible at the time but not evidence of it saved after.

    • Gustavo

      Got the Mio Link a few days ago and tried it yesterday for the first time in the pool, it worked like a charm. I felt a bit silly when I realized the 920xt wasn’t maintaining the HR data, only displaying it realtime. I had assumed it would. Using 5.26 beta.

  105. Katie

    I apologize in advance if someone has already asked this question, but will the HRM-TRI stand up to daily use for all 3 disciplines? In other words, if I had to choose between this bundle and the HRM-RUN, would I regret not having an HRM-RUN?

    Thanks in advance!

    • Mario

      Hi Katie

      if you look to the table in the following link

      link to buy.garmin.com

      you will see that HRM-Run is a subset of HRM-tri features so you will loose nothing.


      ps sorry it is in italian but i can’t find the same page in english

    • you would probably only regret the dent to your bank balance and any issue of replacing one of the pod/strap after the guarantee expires. you have to replace the whole thing.

  106. Mario

    Hi Ray,

    is Fr620 and HRM-Swim really compatible?

    from what i see in the web site the new HRM strab can be used only with fenix3, Fr920 and epix.

    link to buy.garmin.com

    have you used it with FR620?

    thanks a lot.


    • steeple859

      Hi Ray,
      I’ve got the same question:
      Is Fr620 and HRM-Swim compatible?

    • It’s only compatible as a generic ANT+ heart rate strap, not to store/retrieve swim data. Nor can it sync historical data from the strap (HRM-SWIM or HRM-TRI).

    • steeple859

      Thanks for the quick response.
      So does that mean HRM-SWIM works to record and retrieve HR underwater with FR620?
      Don’t need any swim data, just HR during and after water running and swimming.

  107. Emmy

    Does anyone know the aprox. release date. (Europe) for the grey watch tri bundle?

  108. Russ

    Ray, as far as realtime hr and swimming with the 920xt, do you have any recommendations besides the Mio line. Would the Scosche Rhythm work? Pictures always show it placed on the upper part of the arm. If it works it could be a significant cost savings in comparison to the Mio fuse. Also, I noticed in a previous article that the fuse had better signal strength than the link; would Link Have the same connectivity underwater? I’m assuming they’d both work fine. Thanks for all your reviews!

    • Gustavo

      Got the Mio Link a few days ago and tried it yesterday for the first time in the pool, it worked like a charm. But I felt a bit silly when I realized the 920xt wasn’t really maintaining the HR data, only displaying it realtime. So this would seem like a current limitation by design on the 920, as the strategy Garmin employed with the HRM-SWIM is to do batch dumpings when the ANT+ signal is strong outside. A real shame though the watch isn’t enabled to record the live data.

  109. Steve

    Ray… I just got the 920 tri bundle this week and after two swims, I can’t get a hr graph to show up on garmin connect or training peaks. GC shows my avg and max hr for the workout and each individual interval, but I can’t get a graph to show up? The 920 appears to be collecting hr data. I’m just not sure if this is a gc issue or the 920 or the hr monitor. Any ideas?

  110. Mirco

    Ray any news about a only swim device compatible with hrm swim?
    Actually i have garmin swim and is not compatible, but do you think that garmin will release a new device just for swim compatible with hrm?

    I think that at this time i am forced to buy a forerunner 920 to look my hrm on the water, and is very expensive for who just swim e don’t run..

  111. Ricardo

    Can i just attached the polar h7 device to the hrm swim strap?

  112. Luk

    I got the tri-bundle last weekend and wearing the swim belt in the pool works fine.
    for some reason I cannot load my swim data to firstbeat athlete. the error message entails that the r-r .fit file is not in the right format.
    all other workouts can be loaded into firstbeat athlete without any issue.
    Does any have an idea on why the file format in the watch would be different between the swim and the other workouts and how this can be resolved?

    • gabe

      would you post your garmin workout?

      how does the calorie burn differ from the estimate garmin provided before you were measuring heart rate for a similar workout?

    • their support are aware of this issue.

    • PS LUK, as a workaround I tried creating a multisport session and FB athlete DID accept that. I only tried it once as a test before a **run** but that might be the way to go for the moment. ie just lap through bike and run parts of the multisport after you have finished your swim. test it first to avoid disappointment :-)

  113. Tom

    Hey Ray,
    I’m male elite swimmer and we do quite a few heart rate sets within our program. I am wondering what your recommendation would be for swimming with heart rate? The Garmin HRM swim sounds perfect as it wouldn’t fall off when we push off the wall but whether it work at race pace or not I don’t know and I would have to buy a Fenix 3. Should I consider looking at a MIO products or is there anything else to consider when it comes to HR data whilst swimming?

    • I’d think that if you want swim data combined with other swim metrics, the Garmin straps are probably the best overall bet. I just picked up mine yesterday, so will be testing them out over the coming weeks.

    • Tom

      Thanks for the response Ray and I look forward to reading the coming reviews. If I didn’t want the swim metrics as well would you still recommend buying a Fenix 3 with the HRM swim strap? I did have a Garmin swim but I found it interfered with the pace of my workout and overall didn’t really benefit me as you had to manually log drills etc I train with a squad and do around 45-50 km a week as well as a bit of cycling and crossfit. The predominate use for the strap and watch would be monitoring heart rate throughout the set without having to stop and put a strap on as the intervals we train on don’t allow us a lot of time but I would also use it for cross training and other exercise. So do I fork out $800 to buy a Fenix 3 and HRM Swim or can you think of a better recommendation? Thank you for your response as I know it takes up a lot of your time and keep up the good work ??

  114. Aaron

    For those interested in 3rd party app support (TP, Strava):

    The tech team at SportTracks did a quick investigation of FIT files recorded with 920XT using HRM-TRI. It seems the Garmin team made some decision to produce FIT files that are very weird – using non-standard / private / undocumented data messages and structure.

    Supporting this is likely a bit of work. Simply put: normal importers won’t “just work” with this data.

    • yep.
      1. firstbeat won’t always import either
      2. firstbeat WILL take a multisport fit file…just not a swim one. Aaron it’s sometimes the same for ST3 with the standard importer ie it sometimes works with multisport files. But the custom OMB FIT importer (which is awesome) seems to have problems which he is already working on to fix.
      3. there are anomalies in the display metrics available for swim on the watch which I can’t see how the hrm-tri+920 supports them at present. ie the data uploads, as ray says, only occurs at the end when SAVE is chosen so it can’t possibly show last interval HR type metrics even on the lap/rest screen (??)
      4. also I don’t think anything much shows on garmin connect *mobile* regarding HR for swim
      5. people need to know that a session can’t be initiated with garmin connect mobile (like suunto can be). Would be nice if it could – unlikely tho!!
      6. TE calcs seem to be wrong as GC does not seem to have the option of a SWIM-HR zone profile (I could be wrong on that, just couldn’t see it with a cursory glance). This will be a factor if you have lower HR Zones for swimming
      7. I’d be a little interested in exactly how it works. ie the initiation and termination of a session – what causes them precisely? understanding that might make us more aware of the unusual scenarios where it might not work as there are reports on the garmin forum of blank HR files.
      8. the comment below from FLO LOFERER about recovery time MAY probably also important if custom sport HR zones are not available. If your HR /LTHR levels vary between sports (which is usual) then all the recovery calcs may be thrown out if they are based on zones. If they are somehow based on HRV load then the recovery calcs may well be correct. [currently I can’t check the recovery times as the custom fit importer mentioned before doesn’t yet work!]

      here’s my two penneth worth in more detail: link to the5krunner.com (Ray please feel free to delete the link either now or after you have produced a more detailed review if you object to this being here)

    • So I poked Garmin on why the .FIT file is different. Here’s how it’s working for swim data (from the engineering team, in their own words):

      “We didn’t intentionally set up this up so that third parties can’t decipher the .fit files, it was set up to make the most efficient use of resources. The data is already using standard formats, but the way the data is ordered is new. Our engineering team is updating the FIT decoder to handle this.

      At the end of the session, the 920 receives all the stored (and time-stamped) heart rate data from the HRM-Tri and simply appends that data to the end of the .fit file. The 920 uses the data to compute some summary metrics for display in History, but the full merging of the HR data into the activity file is done offline by a HR Swim plugin on the PC side. Merging all the HR data with the rest of the activity data is computationally intensive and would be taxing on the 920 resources. It is faster for the user and easier overall to do it this way.

      We did however anticipate this request and now that the HRM-Tri has launched, we have work in progress to make the HR Swim Plugin available in the public FIT SDK. We are expecting this to be complete in October.”

    • Geza

      Thanks Ray,

      do they say anything about 3rd party HRM (e.g. MIO), why the data is not recorded into the fit file, are they going to fix this ?

    • Hmm, good call, they haven’t responded on that. Will re-poke.

    • Steve

      Hi Ray,

      Anything further on this? It definitely seems strange the data is recorded in OW swim mode (you showed that could be done on release of the 920 after all), yet in pool mode isn’t recorded although we are now able to pair a HRM and the data is at least displayed during the activity.


  115. Flo Loferer


    i have the feeling that the recovery time with the HRM Tri is not calculated correct.

    Yesterday I did my first try with the HRM Tri. I made a soccer training and the first 40 minutes i used the HRM tri and the Fenix 3 together. Then I put the watch on a bench and finished my training.

    After stopping the activity the saved HR data was transferred to the watch and the recovery time was quite low. In my opinion the recovery time matched perfectly with the 40 minutes where i wore the watch.

    In Garmin Connect and on the watch the whole HR data is there – Perfect!!!!

    link to connect.garmin.com

    Anybody else experiencing same behaviour.

    Thanks for your help
    Kr Flo

    • I wonder if the sport is really more the issue. Meaning, the Fenix3 doesn’t have a soccer mode, so it doesn’t really know how to measure load there. Then combine that with the fact that you didn’t wear it for half the activity means distance would be zero, it may use that in calcs.

      Just thinking as to why you might see oddities.

    • Flo Loferer

      Thanks Ray for your reply.

      For Soccer I created a seperate App – based on the Running App. And therefore up to now the calculation of the load was in my opinion okay.

      The distance could be a factor for sure.

      I am just wondering if you get a training load for swimming with the HRM Tri?

      Kr Flo

    • Flo Loferer

      Hello Ray,

      after the first soccer match with the HRM TRI I have to correct my assumptions from my last post.

      The Recovery Time is calculated correct. I got 72 hours of recovery time after the match which seems to be correct!

      I am very happy with this new feature !

      kr Flo

  116. gabe

    lol – will someone share their garmin swim workout with the HRM swim?

  117. Peter Jansen

    Hello – Great review – one Question – do you think I can modify the Garmin strap and mount my Polar Monitor on it? I so I only buy the Garmin replacement strap and have a solution for my Polar system ….

  118. Gonzalo

    Dese all

    If your body shape is:
    ==•, =o• ??
    =<• ????

    In my first swim with the Garmin HRM swim, the band was it place for 1000 meters, then it started to slowly slip down my trunk. Once the band was loose (around 1500 meters), the hook that keep the band together went undone (1900 meters).

    For the =<• you may need a tri-single

  119. Jani

    Got mine today. Went to swim. No HR data. No graph, no avg, no max. Not nice. Did RTFM, if I did something wrong. No, based on manual or your post, no. Googled more, found couple of threads talking about reliability issues.. What is the experience generally? Are those working great or badly? Now I’m having really mixed feeling about it, it was great to finally get it, but it wasn’t nice to get nothing out of wearing it in first test 1500m swim.

    • Gonzalo


      Did you see your heart rate on your watch before swimming?

    • Jani

      I did. I even added HR field to swimming screens to see it.

      It also said after the training that finding HR, downloading HR data, completed or something like that, it all went to fast.

      But nothing in GC.

    • Jani

      And the .fit file is just 15k, so no HR there either.

    • David J VanBolt

      So if you’re not able to see the HR data in the swim summary in the history on your watch, no big deal, just upgrade the firmware. Only the latest version supports it. They could have done a better job advertising this .

    • Jani

      Well, that was pretty pointless. Why do you think I don’t have the latest version of firmware if I said that I saw the quick information about it downloading the cached hr? My 920xt says 5.20, and it’s the latest.

    • Fwiw, I saw the exact same thing on an OW swim today:

      Epix paired to HRM-TRI: No issues, did it’s thing correctly and saw the very quick downloading data message and happiness.

      FR920XT on other wrist paired to HRM-SWIM: No issues during swim, validated it was pairing and had shown HR prior to departure. Even had HR upon exit. Then saved it, gave a brief message it was starting downloaded, but then immediately gave another super brief message that it gave up on download. No data.

      Since many of the key Garmin engineering leads will be up in Alberta for the ANT+ Symposium this week (where I just arrived), I’ll find some bunny to bop over the head and see what’s up.

    • Jani

      On my second swim I got HR data and TE. The thing I did differently was I started the 920xt when still over the water and HR was reading on the 920xt. My first time was I started 920xt under water. I don’t know does that really make any difference, but I just figured it might help and tested it. Based on manual and your post it shouldn’t make any difference, but you never know.

    • Jani

      New Beta firmware* seems to have this:
      “Added support for updating past activities with heart rate data stored in an HRM-Tri strap. This feature can be accessed through the history menu on the watch.”

      I’m assuming that it will do that also for HRM-Swim, so you could try to add the HR data again, if it fails for some reason. I’ve had two failures of not getting HR with HRM-Swim, so usually it works.

      * link to www8.garmin.com

    • Jani

      And now as 6.10 came out, tested to download HR data to couple of my swims that didn’t have it. Worked and got HR to them. They also synced to connect as new ones, but just deleted the old ones without HR.

      So even if it bugs still with 6.10 you can recover the HR data.

  120. David J VanBolt

    Has anyone found a workaround to only viewing swimming HR data in Garmin Connect?! I was so excited when I got these but now that I realize that they’re basically useless if you use any decently constructed athlete tracker (Sporttracks, Training Peaks, even garmin TC!) I was pretty bummed. I’ve even tried exporting the file from Garmin Connect and it does not export the HR data in the file. Does anyone know a timeline for a fix or a way I could do this in the interim? Otherwise would anyone like to buy an HRM-Swim/Tri strap from me as I will be going back to wearing a polar on the other wrist and combining the GPS and HRM data from the two watches.

  121. Manos

    Hi Ray.
    I have a strange combination for triathlons. A Suunto Ambit 2 on my rist and a Garmin 510 on my bike. Is there anyway to sync my swim heartrate afterwords with any of those? I don’t care if i have to start them (even the 510) from the beggining of the swim just get hte job done…..

  122. Gus

    Hello everyone,

    Sorry if this has already been addressed BUT how much swimming will the Swim strap record before it needs to send it to a watch? Just wondering if you could expect to do a full 2 hour swim session with it on and expect it to then send all the data to a watch afterwards? Then if so, how long could you expect it to go? In other words, how much memory would it have?
    BTW I am a swim coach. Looking at them for training open water swimmers.



  123. Manos

    Thanks Ray. Any other alternative to rec my heart rate while swiming and comunicate with my divices ?

  124. RobHug

    Hi Ray,

    I’ve recently bought HRM-Tri and have used it for two swims – he’s my latesthttps://connect.garmin.com/modern/activity/915556985 – excuse my slowness :)

    Ok, so it shows my avg HR and also max HR. When I look at the intervals and scroll to the right it shows it for each interval. My issue is that there is no graph showing the HR so It’s hard to see what the HR was during a certain set etc. Some people seem to have them and there don’t.

    Do you know why this is or how to get the swim HR graph?

    There is also no graph in the mobile version of Garmin Connect. Plus of course in TP I am unable to set up a graph for HR as it says there is no data. It collects the avg and max but no graph :(


  125. Max

    I have been having mixed results using the HRM-SWIM with my 920XT during open water sessions. The method I use to get a reliable heart rate recording is to start, stop and save the activity while the HRM-SWIM is out of the water. As you can imagine this is not very convenient in an open water setting.

    The other method I tried is to pair my 920XT with the HRM-SWIM out of the water, start and stop the activity underwater and then save the activity when I get out of the water. Using this method the data is not saved. Is this normal and what are your experiences with using the HRM-SWIM for open water recordings. How do you start and stop the activity to get good data?

    • So for those that have issues where everything looks good on the 920XT until you save/sync and get no HR due to a very brief message… The Garmin folks are aware and now looking into it.

      They borrowed my unit that showed that issue while I was up at the ANT+ Symposium to troubleshoot a bit on it.

      I don’t have a timeframe for when that might be solved, other than just as an FYI they’re aware and working on it.

    • Max

      Thanks Ray.

  126. Max


    In your FAQ you state that:

    “Must the watch and strap be connected prior to starting each activity?”

    “No, assuming they’ve been paired at least once – and assuming there was an activity started for the watch to tie the HR data to.”

    If the 920XT is working perfectly, what should the sequence be to successfully save HRM data?

    1) Pair HRM – start/stop underwater – save above water.
    2) Pair HRM – start above water – stop underwater – save above water.
    3) Pair HRM – start/stop above water – save above water.


    • Personally I’d go with #3 to guarantee highest level of success since it ‘proovs’ connectivity is working pre-swim – but in theory, both 1 & 2 should be fine (with preference towards 2 over 1).

    • Max

      Thanks Ray.

      From the instructions that came with the HRM-SWIM its difficult to see what GARMIN’s design intent was.

      For Case 1) to work I think that the act of pairing would sync the clock in the HRM and watch. The HRM would then start saving HRM internally, even if an activity has not been started. The start and stop of the activity would occur under water so the HRM would not know about this. When saving the activity, the watch would calculate what data to retrieve (based on time) and send this info to the strap to start a download of the relevant data.

      Do you know if this was GARMIN’s design intent? I really like to understand the underlying technology and what the designers at GARMIN had in mind when developing the HRM-SWIM. Its cool to know what really happens.


    • Michael

      My question is similar to the one above. I’m a little confused as to how exactly these straps work. Does starting a timed activity on the 920xt tell the HR strap to start recording? Or rather, is the HR strap always recording? If it is always recording, how does it know the the time of day? I’m guessing it gets the time of day from the watch during pairing?

    • Assuming you’ve paired the strap to your device at least once, it’ll set the GMT time and then also know it’s friend the watch.

      At that point forward, you can go off and use the strap without the watch being nearby. But, what you do need to have on the watch is a corresponding workout on the watch with that time. So you can’t just use the strap without at least starting an activity. This is ideal for more than just swimming – such as soccer with HR and not wearing anything on your wrist.

      Just start the activity on the sidelines and toss the watch your bag.

  127. Stephane

    So, here’s my understanding… Someone can correct me ?

    HRM-SWIM: Record HR for pool or open water swim. But no running dynamic. If I use it for running, I will get HR from the HRM-SWIM and cadence from the watch, with a belt that it is maybe a little less confortable. Right?
    HRM-TRI: Record HR in Pool and OW swim and will record the running dynamic from the pod. All that with a more confortable belt for tri but not for pool swimming. Right?

  128. gabe

    doesn’t seem like this product is working well

    • Max

      With the 920XT it works very well if you pair, start, stop and save the activity with the HRM-Swim out of the water. Never had a problem using it this way.

      According to Ray, Garmin is working out the bugs for the other cases where you start/stop and activity with the HRM underwater.

  129. JJ Lee


    If you were to pick a HRM to buy to use with the Fenix 3, which one would you go with? Garmin HRM-SWIM/Garmin HRM-TRI or the Wahoo TICKR Run?

    • If you’re a triathlete – or more specifically, if you’re swimming, then I’d go with the HRM-TRI/SWIM so you can get that data. The TICKR RUN won’t transmit any of the special Running Dynamics (or during a swim) data to any Garmin products.

    • JJ Lee

      Does the HRM-TRI/SWIM have all of the capabilities that the HRM-Run have? Right now I’m running more, but I am thinking about swimming more in the future. The sticky part of the HRM-TRI/SWIM is what have my attention at the moment. I don’t want to buy both the Run and the TRI/SWIM in the future. It’s going to be one or the other.

    • The HRM-TRI does, but not the HRM-SWIM.

    • JJ Lee

      Why doesn’t the HRM-TRI work in pool swim (swimming pool?)? How does the HRM even distinguish pool swim from open water swim?

    • The HRM-TRI technically works in a pool swim, but doesn’t hold to the body as well as the HRM-SWIM does when pushing off the wall. It’s more of an issue for men than women, as women can wear it under their bathing suit and negate any water pressure that would otherwise push the strap down (as it does for most men).

    • JJ Lee

      Thanks for the response Ray! Why doesn’t it hold to the body as well as the HRM-SWIM? I thought both straps have a sticky surface that grips to the skin?

    • As noted a bit more in the HRM-SWIM swim section, you can see it’s a much wider strap that has a different material. It’s designed for swimming, whereas the TRI is designed for being across multiple sports so it has a less intense strap to be more comfortable.

    • Lee Sutton

      Hi Ray

      Would you say though that if you don’t do big pushes off the wall in the pool you’d get away with the Tri?! Love the idea of seeing my heart rate across a session but would be a shame to have to buy two straps for pool/triathlons.


    • So I tried out the HRM-TRI in the pool yesterday for a 500y set (on a 25y pool). I put it in the camp of ‘maybe-sorta’.

      I put it on my upper chest, since I find that’s where non-HRM-SWIM straps stick the best if they have to stick somewhere. In my case, I swam as normal doing flip turns and pushing off the wall at about 80% intensity for this set. It kinda stayed, but then started to stray towards the end. If you reduced the push, that’s the main reason the strap slides. So it’s definitely better than regular straps, but I personally wouldn’t want to use it in the pool full-time. Sorta one of those “well crap, I grabbed the wrong strap in my bag for today’s swim…I guess it’ll work” type things.

      Make sense? (Probably not)

      (Others that have tried the HRM-TRI in the pool are welcome to add their thoughts!)

  130. Andrew

    Ok so asked (another user) not answered…
    Has / can I use the Scosche Rythym(+) for my swim / Tri?
    Or is there another optical HRM on the market that’ll cache the HRM data for the swim?
    I’m considering dumping the FR220 as the Swim has died again (damn rubber battery seal leaks…) so using the Swim for training is out and as I have a Edge520 for my rides considering the 920xt.
    I gave up the chest strap for the Scosche and haven’t looked back (damn strap lasts me 10-12mths before it dies).
    I’d still just happily wear the Scosche for the Tri (sans the Swim HRM data) if I’d still get the Bike/Run data automatically?

  131. Leandro Sgallari

    Ray. Do you have an answer from Garmin if it’s possibly in the future to use any wrist band like mio or something else? Because it’s a software thing have hrm data on the pool. If you use it in the same wrist you have no drops and you can see the hrm data all the time. Of course it’s not saved

  132. Near Field Magnetic Induction Technology easily transmits in water and would enable swimming heart rate monitors to display in real time up to 5 feet away from the sensor. Also called NFC+ for Extended Near Field Communication. See link to freelinc.com
    FreeLinc has the patents and ASICs (Applied Specific Integrated Circuits) for this technology and is the world leader.
    Disclosure: I am a stockholder in FreeLinc, but that does not make the comment any less valid. Feel free to contact me if you would like an introduction to the FreeLinc CEO or Senior Engineer.
    Lawrence J. Day
    PACE PAL, LLC (Over-The-Hill U. of Michigan Swimmer)
    1594 Kings Carriage Rd.
    Grand Blanc, Michigan 48439
    (810) 853-1159

  133. Brad

    Can you clarify what the benefit of the tri strap is vs the standard HR strap for biking?

  134. PintX

    Hi Ray. You noted before that Garmin said “Garmin Swim: There is not enough memory to support Garmin swim capability” referring Garmin Swim wacth. My Garmin Express and Connect are trying to install (getting error) my default heart rate zones to my Garmin Swim watch. Heart and Power zones show now on GC device settings. I suppose that is an error from Garmin programming since this watch can not receive HR data, right?.
    Thanks in advance.

  135. Zan

    So is it still the case that the hr data can’t be exported/won’t get synced to 3rd party sites?

    Is it still the case that data from wrist based hr sensors can be viewed live on the watch but do not get saved to the fit file?

  136. Matt

    Hi Ray. Has Garmin confirmed that hrm-sem/tri can record R-R data for swimming? (e.g. to be used in FB athlete)

    • If you want, I can send you one of my swim files to see if it’s there. That said, saw that FB Athlete is being discontinued. :( Thus it may not support the joined files that the system is currently making.

      Actually, here’s a file posted: link to dropbox.com

    • Matt

      reply from FB

      Thank you for contacting Firstbeat Support.
      We have received similar messages from other users as well. We are currently confirming the compatibility from Garmin.
      At the moment it looks that the Swim- and TRI-HRM belts do not store R-R interval data when disconnected from the wrist unit.
      But like I mentioned, we are waiting for the final confirmation from Garmin. Once we have received the information from Garmin We will inform you.

  137. Steve

    Hi Ray,

    Any insight into why Garmin bundle the quick release kit in the US, France, etc but appear not to in the UK? It is a simple error in terms of the “in the box” listing, or do they actually not include it for us? The main Garmin site, as well as all the UK retailers who stock it, definitely do not list the QR kit as included.

    I was also really surprised to see that Garmin raised the price of the bundle by £30 since original release! It’s only 7%, but still?! Most stuff gets cheaper over time!

    Here’s a web archive showing it was originally £450 whereas now it is £480: link to web.archive.org

    If they’ve upped the price and it still doesnt include the QR kit, then that’s a really tough sell.

    Thanks for all your work.

    PS – any word on your Euro equivalent of the Clever Training hook up? It all seems to have gone quite quiet on the front over the past few months.

    • Hmm, odd. I think it’s because they are actually different SKU’s for different countries. Or rather, different permitted bundles. For example in the UK last spring there was a Fenix3 Sapphire w/HRM-RUN – yet actually not offered in America. Go figure.

      As for Euro equiv…sigh, soon. I hope? Reminds me I need to finish writing that nasty-gram…

    • Steve

      You SKU point made me look further. You’re correct for the US and French SKUs that I’d looked at before, but the Australian SKU is the same as the UK one (010-01174-41) and the Australian site says it includes the quick release kit.

      I think a direct call to Garmin for clarification is in order!

      Thanks for the reply

  138. Ryan

    Ray – I’m sorry if this question has been previously answered but I cannot find it on this post…

    Can I use my HRM-Run strap, that I currently have with my 920xt, to use during tri races under a tri suit? This would save me from purchasing the HRM-tri strap. Will the run strap record the swim portion heart-rate or just once I get out of the water. Does buying the HRM-tri justify the cost for obtaining heart rate during a swim portion? I’m having my doubts.

    Thank you!

  139. Daniel

    Hi Ray,
    I would really like to know your opinion on this, and I’m sure other people would to. My question is, for us 910xt folk who aren’t ready to part with their beloved trusted watches, what options are there?
    The Wahoo Kickr X – doesn’t let me see my HR in real time (which I think is pointless if you train and race to a heart rate)
    Garmin soft strap – tend to have a short life (my decides to stop working as soon as I get a bit wet from either sweat or water)
    Garmin HRM-TRI – from what I have read it wont transmit running data to a 910xt??

    So if someone wants running metrics and HR metrics are they just better to go for a foot pod and HRM separately? If so what HRM strap would you suggest to for the 910xt instead of the Garmin premium soft strap?

  140. Charlie

    I’m a pretty good swimmer with an excellent push-off, and before I get the HRM swim, I’d like to know how many men (if any) have done a hard three or four thousand yard workout whilst wearing one and how well (or poorly) it stayed in place.


  141. Maarten

    I would suggest wearing a trisuit when using the HRM-TRI in the pool, that way it should stay perfectly in place.

  142. Anch

    Has anyone got any experience of uses a different make of triathlon watch and/or bike computer? I’ve always been a big fan of garmin products, but garmin connect is really starting to annoy me. Especially the iPhone app, looks like they are more concerned with it looking all flashy rather than you being able to view meaning full data i.e. ave power for a given lap etc. I’ve had the misfortune of buy both a triathlon watch 910xt and a bike computer 810 just prior to them release model that now make these nearly obsolete. I’m maybe exaggerating a tad, but seriously considering looking at alternatives when I upgrade.

    • Simon

      Anch, Ive been very pleased with my Polar v800 – I use it with a Mio link (worn next to watch) to get real time and stored heart rate when swimming (open water or pool) fine. GPS lock very quick. Can set up separate HR zones for each sport, does interval timers, swim metrics etc. Also picks up stages power on the bike fine. I don’t use the phone apps so cant comment on those. Polar doesn’t do setting up a route in advance (at the moment) if that matters to you.

  143. olivier

    Hi Ray, any possibility to transfer stored HR data directly through ANT Agent via the USB key without using a through device as the 920XT?

    • Possible in the ‘could someone do it’ – only if a 3rd party programmed it. But Garmin says it uses standard ANT+fs, which could be transferred wirelessly should someone develop an app to do it (which, would be fairly simple). To date, I’m not aware of any app out there that does it.

  144. Craig

    I just received my Garmin HRM-Swim, and put in a slowish 2k…it stayed put super well, and relativel comfortable even though I have a pretty hairy chest.

    Issue with TrainingPeaks persists.

    Any insight since your last poke?

    • At this point, Garmin/Dynastream have released the specs. So it’s really up to TrainingPeaks to implement them.

    • Craig

      Thanks Ray,

      The feedback I got from TP is that they are aware of the issue and an update has been requested frequently, so it hopefully is in the works.

      The workaround they gave me is to Export from Connect as .tcx, then upload to TP. When I did this it carried most of the info, although it screwed up my pace, as it initially came in as a generic workout file, which I had to change to a swim.


  145. Craig

    Hi Guys

    I am considering buying a 920XT with the Tri Bundle or alternatively just buying the 920XT and the HRM-SWIM band for the pool wihout the HRM-TRI. I like the idea of capturing the heart rate data while swimming and reviewing later.

    I have a scosche rhythm+ optical heart rate sensor at the moment that works well and I am happy with it for the bike and run.

    My question is in the Multi Sport mode on 920XT, would it work if I started a triathlon with the HRM-SWIM under my Wetsuit, and then in the First Transition took it off and put on the scosche rhythm+ for the rest of the race ? Would the sensor connect automatically and keep tracking Heart Rate throughout the workout?

    In the past I have not had the best luck with any Heart Rate Straps, I am quite small and the straps normally in there smallest size end up slipping down during run or have large spikes etc.

    Thanks all

  146. Geo

    Hi Ray,
    Sorry if I ask a redundant question, but I am trying to decide on a new HRM strap, the Tri vs Run.
    I have the Fenix 3 and currently use the cyclops strap and sometime the older Garmin HRM. I prefer to get the TRI and understand that the strap is not replaceable – and ok with that. I only plan to use it for open swims under a wetsuit so don’t need the HRM swim. what’s your take on HRM RUN vs HRM TRI?

  147. veronica

    Hi, One week ago y bought the garmin swim with both straps and the hrm swim works well, but hrm tri doesnt or at least I dont know how to do it to see my heart rate during my exercise. I ve read the instructions and it is supposed to be already cnnected (watch and strap). is there anything else i need to do? register the product, use the USB ANT+ or anything else?

    tHANK YOU!

  148. Joris De Wolf

    Does the watch also monitor cadance, power, and speed (based on wheel revolutions) like an edge 500 would?
    I hope it does, else it would be pointless as a tri watch.

  149. Gerome

    Hey Ray and folks!

    Is it really true that in spite of the manufacturer’s official statements to the contrary, the Garmin epix DOES NOT support latest real-time Advanced Running Dynamics (namely Stride Length, Vertical Oscillation, and Vertical Ratio)?


    • It does not support the Gen2 versions, and Garmin never claimed it would either (unfortunately).

    • Gerome

      Hey Ray!

      Thanks for your reply!

      If you check out my comment #957 on your “Hands-on with the Garmin Epix GPS mapping & multisport watch” post, you’ll find links to Garmin’s official FAQ where they pretty much unambiguously state that the Garmin epix does indeed support ALL of the Gen2 Running Dynamics.

      Anyway, I’m aware of your recent-ish e-mail exchanges with Garmin on the topic and obviously take your word for the fact that the Gen2 Running Dynamics are not, in fact, supported by the epix, but given the content of the their official FAQ, I don’t think it’s fair to say that they “never claimed it would”; I could be wrong, though, I don’t know; it’s nothing personal: just my opinion.

      Anyway, take care and thanks again!

    • (I see your post now, sorry, it got caught in a holding queue and manually found it after I replied above).

      In any case, I’d agree that this specific link (link to support.garmin.com{45f95e80-9795-11e5-4cfe-000000000000}) – does conflict. I’m guessing it’s simple oversight, but I’ll loop back again.

    • Gerome

      Are you sure you meant that one and not this one {82c4a520-9788-11e5-4cfe-000000000000} ?

      The one you linked kind of flat-out says that “The epix, fenix 3, tactix Bravo, Forerunner 920XT, and Forerunner 630 are devices that are capable of displaying the latest running dynamics.” (I can’t see any conflicts there.), whereas the other one I linked on the one hand states that “The epix, fenix 2, and Forerunner 620 display cadence, ground contact time, and vertical oscillation when paired with an HRM-Run or HRM-Tri.”, but on the other hand it explicitly lists the Garmin epix as a “device that will display all running dynamics”. Let’s not forget that the title of the FAQ is “Which devices can display running dynamics?” and the post specifically itemizes ALL of the Advanced Running Dynamics (including Gen2): I don’t think Gamin can state it much clearer, to be honest.

  150. Kristoffer

    Great Review!

    I have just recently bought myself a Garmin Fenix 3. I play a lot of floorball and soccer and would like to record my HR during these sessions. It might not be a good idea to wear the watch during my exercise.

    Is it theoretically possible to use a HRM-tri strap to do just that? If i just start my workout on the Fenix and then leave it in the locker?

  151. Jake

    Vivoactive owner. What stupid reasoning. Trying to push people into buying the FR920 instead of Vivoactive. But from the other side slamming the door on additional turnover, when HRM-Tri of swim belt could be purchased at a rate of >100,- additionally to the device?!? Almost Apple/MAC like attitude.

    On the site of Garmin I have just sent them a plead to support the compatibility.
    Hope all the Vivoactive users will do this in the masses, so Garmin will consider this change.

    • Scott Pryde

      Second that Jake – the VivoActive has been and will be on my wrist 90% of my life through training and hopefully completing various events including an IM during this year, would have been awesome to have the open water algorithm and swim bands / stats for it all …

  152. Justin

    Any news on the recording of HR data from HRMs that aren’t the -Tri or -Swim for pool swims on the 920xt? I was really hoping that fix would have been included in the 7.1 firmware that just came out (or any of the other firmware updates that have been released over the last 10 months).

    • The HRM-SWIM & HRM-TRI actually have storage in them for HR data. Whereas the other HR straps don’t.

      The only others that do would be the 4iiii Viiiiva and KICKR X, but I don’t think either of those have followed the public ANT+ spec for downloading of data (otherwise they would actually work).

    • Justin

      I meant recording the HR data to the watch (not the monitor). The 920xt will display the HR from (in my specific case) the Rhythm+ during my pool swim, but when I save my workout, there is no HR data saved in the FIT file.

    • Ahh, gotchya. Hmm, I haven’t followed it that closely. I thought someone had it working in the Garmin forums on certain firmware versions. But I can’t remember if it was the F3 or 920XT.

  153. Z@


    Can anyone give a link to the public activity on connect.garmin.com with HRM Swim in pool swim mode for Fenix 3?

  154. Has anyone tried the SWIM-HRM on a bike/running (under a tri-suit). I have a triathlon on Sunday and meant to give it a shot this week. Just wondered if it felt constricting/slipped about.

  155. Piyush

    is it suitable to use the hrm tri for weight training?

  156. Joost

    Hi, thanks a lot for this (and other) post(s)!
    I’m wondering and cannot find anywhere whether the HRM Tri will stick during an open water swim without a suit/top, so wearing just shorts.
    All it says everywhere is that it will not stick in pool swims “because of the push-offs”, but I’m also not “99% of athletes” who wears a tri kit during a race (quarter distance, FYI).
    Thanks in advance!

  157. Sparts

    Wait…..$129 a pop!
    If Garmin hardware quality was halfway decent then maybe it’d be good value at half that price. Sadly its not.

    There is a bit of Garmin love from this website for sure. I get it, we all have a preference.
    As you said, they added a sticky strap that as yet is unproven. Otherwise they are years behind the competitors and charging a lot more for the privilege.

    • Well, a year later and nobody seems to be complaining about HRM-SWIM straps losing stickiness, so…it seems fine.

      Also, they can charge more since they’re doing more than their competitors. Simple market realities.

    • Well, I can be ONE person complaining about the strap. I cannot keep it in place. I have it as tight as I can stand it but after a few hundred meters in the pool, it starts to slip when pushing off the wall. It’s become so problematic that I’ve just given up wearing it at all. I suppose that I could push off LESS forcefully, but that goes against DECADES of swim training and is a really hard habit to break. Like Ray, I won’t wear a top in the pool, so it seems I’m S.O.L.

  158. Robert Patocchi

    Thanks for the review. i was wondering if any one could help me. What I am looking for is a device that can give me my heart rate between repeats. I am not into long swims. I do interval training. up to 200 yards. I need a device that will work as I stand in the pool after a interval. Sometimes a short rest. 15 sec. It would be nice to have one that tell stroke rate but not necessary. A few years back i tried the ear clip finish and awatch but they seemed erratic. Any help would be grateful. I do not care about getting a report after I swim.. Thanks It is for me and my boys. We are sprinters and middle distant swimmers. Short middle distance.. 200 max races.

  159. Adrian Dooley

    HRM best choice …

    At buy time i guess i missed the pool limitations of the tri strap and choose it as it covered all activities and the chlorine and chemicals and their link to pre mature death ( 30-50 pool sessions life span) to HRM-tri were’nt mentioned in the sales info.

    Now i’m looking down barel of a swim strap for pool ,but i cant get the tri strap to pair with fenix3hr , new battery , it works on erg , shorted terminals …fenix3 hr just cant see it ..with strap being worn via settings – sensors -add new- search all ( no sensors found try again message after the scan ) …..the watch can see all other sensors speed/cad/foor pod/temp/ rythm+ … garmin will try to respond in 3 days , any help welcome … Ad

  160. Tien Charoenchai

    Hi Ray, do you happen to know if the HRM-Swim data accumulates intensity minutes during swimming activities? I am inclined to say no. I have not been able to get any intensity minutes while swimming…

    Meanwhile my strength training activities (consistently in hr zone 1) logs plenty.

  161. Mike

    FYI: the Soft Strap Premium Heart Rate Monitor (Part Number: 010-10997-07), which appears to be the one pictured above, is compatible with a stack of Fenix and Forerunner watches (link to buy.garmin.com). I expect that, even up to a half-ironman level, you could get away with buying only the swim band and repurposing your existing running/ cycling HRM.

    I’m now deciding between the 735 or the 920, but in either case will buy the watch and the swim strap separately. The 735 has a built-in monitor for running/cycling, and if I choose the 920, I’ll just repurpose my existing soft strap HRM.

  162. Is this the best way to record HR data for an Ironman? Wearing the Garmin Tri strap, and start the timer on my Garmin bike computer in transition at 5am, get back to the bike at 7am, then around 12 pm I jump off the bike (I could stop timer and press save if needed when heading to transition), then I put on a Garmin watch and press start.
    Will the data from the swim be saved to the bike computer and allow me to start a new recording on the run watch?

    And separately in training, if wearing the tri or swim strap, with the connected watch at the end of the pool, will it display HR when I am near the watch with the strap above water at the end of each lap?
    thanks very much for your great work. Love the site.

  163. Heikki

    Hello there dear DCR!

    Big fan of this site and done some “insert coin to continue…” shopping based on your reviews.
    Wonder if the garmin swim strap’s “nipples” are placed in such manner they could interlock with Polar H7?

    Other ways i have to go play with some strap on nipples at shop if you cannot provide such critical information :D

    • Thanks Heikki!

      Unfortunately, the pod on the HRM-SWIM (and HRM-TRI) doesn’t actually come off. Thus, there’s no way to swap it with the H7. I mean, if you were super crafty I’m sure you could find a wear to cut it off, and then solder back into the contacts. But I suspect that’d have a very low degree of success. ;)

  164. Greg Slocum

    I need to see hr during openwater swims. Can I hold a Fenix 5 near an hrm-tri underwater to get an instant realtime reading? If so, how long will it stay on the display? Will watch vibrate if hr out of zone like a Polar a300? Thx!

  165. Michael Coyne

    Can anybody comment on whether the HRM-Tri will survive repeated pool use? I just got the Fenix 5 performer’s bundle and didn’t realize they say the Tri strap won’t survive the pool chemicals if you use it repeatedly. This is very frustrating to me as somebody who just wants one strap to do it all. Has anybody used the HRM-Tri repeatedly in the pool to validate that? I really don’t want to have to buy the HRM-Swim separately, and doubt I’ll need the stickiness because A) I don’t push off hard at all, and B) I would be fine with being the HRM with suspenders dork.

    If it really can’t survive pool use, I think I’ll probably change my order. The HRM-Tri already falls slightly short in terms of being a strap that can do it all for me (I would need 5khz connectivity for treadmill auto-pacing too, which I could get via the Polar H10 or a Mi-Pulse module), and being unable to be used in a pool is where I would draw the line and either get the HRM-Swim or something else. It really bugs me that because of the bundle I’d be paying $20 extra for a supposedly lesser HRM but right now 100% of my swim training is in the pool. I intend to start doing some openwater stuff this summer, but I’m quite sure at least 50% of my swims will still be in the pool even if I only account for bad weather where I live.

    So ability to get HR during majority of my training > running dynamics.

    • Michael Coyne

      Sorry, $30 extra compared to bundle. Even more reason for me to want to know if the HRM-Tri could survive the pool if I tried it – given that I’m already getting the Fenix 5, the Tri is actually ~1/3 cheaper than the Swim for me right now.

  166. Paolo

    Thanks for the review. But for me, that I will be doing mostly open water swimming, the fact that I cannot track live my hr is a big downside. Is the Polar V800 the only capable of this (at least with a chest strap HRM)?
    Thank you for your great job!

    • It’s basically just Polar with respect to a HR strap.

      Though the new Suunto Spartan Sport Wrist HR will measure underwater using their optical HR sensor. I haven’t validated accuracy in that scenario yet. On the to-do list.

  167. Bryan Finlay

    While the HRM-Swim comes with 3 pieces of strap for adjusting its length, and the battery can be replaced, there appears to be no replacement for the elastic portion of the chest-strap that attaches to the Blue strap. Mine is worn and about to break apart

  168. Kristoffer Pettersson

    I went out for a run with my HRM-tri, and when i got home i noticed that the blue rubber coating around the “heart” of the strap is lost. Garmin tells me that they can not guarantee that the strap is water tight without this seal, neither do they have any spare parts for this problem.

    Does anyone else know a way how to work this out? Maybe some silicone or anything like that?

  169. Laurel

    I know this is a quite old post, but I’m choosing to comment anyway. I initially purchased this strap for swimming and ended up using it for running and the running dynamics provided. In the last couple of months I purchased the Vector 3’s and a Garmin Edge 130 for my bike. It’s kind of frustrating to me that the HR strap won’t connect to my Edge. While my original intent wasn’t to use the external HR monitor, but to rely on my Fenix 5 metrics for biking, I Find my Edge more accurate while cycling and wish I could get HR data on it as well. Silent rant, sorry. Notably I am about to be on my 3rd Fenix 5 due to failure of the elevation and temperature controls in the watch. Thus another reason I rely on my Edge when cycling.

  170. pamela bradley

    I have the Garmin tri HRM swim strap which goes with my XT, but it is too big and I can’t adjust it to make it smaller….