Sunday, 24 May 2015

Open Water Tests with The Suunto Ambit 3

The Bank Holiday Weekend at the end of May 2015 coupled with Charlie being abroad getting some sunshine, allowed for my first real open water swim of the year, whilst Joe Hunter and I did have a little dip a few weeks ago in The North Sea, there was not a lot of actual swimming that day.

Having returned from Mexico only a week since, I am not afraid to admit I as rather anxious before heading to Ellerton Lake on a rather overcast Sunday. As luck (or bad luck) would have it, Saturday was in fact glorious in comparison.

Had my training been rather more disciplined I would still have been swimming the Eton Dorney 10km with Zoe Sadler which I had entered some months earlier. However after some sensible discussion the decision was made.. it would be a poor idea to travel almost 300 miles to Eton with insufficient training and or cold water exposure.

So off to the local lake for a somewhat delayed start to the 2015 open water training.

The plan was to complete at least 30 minutes whatever the temperature with a view to swimming outside most days this week in an effort to jump start my acclimatisation. On arrival I noticed a few wet suit swimmers entering and leaving the water but their numbers were very low.

Standing in speedos at the jetty I attracted the usual comments regarding the lack of neoprene as I waited for a group of four divers to make their exit.

Then it was the usual easing of oneself into the water. Feet, knees, waist then drop down to the neck before a little breast stroke to the first buoy, get control of the breathing and off into front crawl. First thoughts were 'ouch thats a little fresh' (after 30 degrees C on holiday). A short shuttle back and forth to one of the orange buoys then into laps.

I had configured the Suunto to its Open Water exercise mode, with just a few clicks I was able to switch from normal day / time mode to Openwater, Locate GPS signal and press start to begin recording data. Extremely simple on screen instructions and no doubts of the device being in operation (unlike the Finis Hydro Tracker which is situated on the back of the head, the indicator lamps of which can be difficult to see at best)
As you can see from the image above I have the Suunto set up to show, total distance (top) total time (middle) and temperature (bottom). The user can personalise to show whatever information you wish, be it pace per 100m, swolf, lap time, heart rate, you name it, the combinations are pretty endless. This just happens to suit my requirements. 

The swim it self was fairly uneventful, I had a minor mental blip around 30 minutes but decided to complete a few more laps and aim for the hour. The water was around 14degrees, I was breathing rather heavily but coped ok with the water so long as I kept moving. Once out recovery was good, the odd shake but nothing to speak of which was reassuring.

Soon as I got home I downloaded the session via bluetooth transfer in less than a minute and was able to analyse the data via the 'Suunto MovesCount App' on whichever device i.e. laptop, iPad, iPhone etc.

I was already familiar the mapping from  Gavins 'Ambit 2' which we had utilised on two of last years Windermere swims. I was not disappointed, except that I need to spend less time sight seeing and more time swimming


In summary I was delighted with the Suunto 3, the ease in its operation, how it performed and the data provided post swim. I much much prefer it to the Finis Hydro Tracker.

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