In review: Garmin 920XT

30 October 2015

Words: Andre Bekker, Professional Coach | Photos: Garmin & Shutterstock | Video: Garmin


Last year Garmin launched the most advanced and, as far as I see it, the best triathlon / multi-sport watch; the Forerunner 920XT. Testament to this is that as a coach, I have a prerequisite that all my athletes have a 920XT. The reason is simple: it syncs between my training platform Training Peaks and the Garmin Connect really easily, thus giving me an extended view of my athletes’ activities.

More recently, Garmin launched the Forerunner® 910XT Tri-bundle, which includes two heart-rate monitors. Strap one is swim-specific and the second is an enhanced heart rate monitor strap that now includes an open-water function. Training stress scores are a function of your maximum effort for an hour, with 100 points being awarded for maximum effort. In the past, this has always been a number that wasn't possible to calculate, as we couldn’t determine your heart rate. With the HRM-Swim, this is now possible, and the strap really helps to give you the total picture of an athlete’s work rate.

The Swim and Tri heart-rate straps are intended for triathletes and swimmers and can store up to 20 hours of heart-rate data during swims. They're basically capable of pushing data to a compatible Garmin device at the end of each swim session, as well as sending heart rates to the Forerunner 920XT multisport watch when out of the water.

The HRM-Tri, an ANT+ heart rate strap with Garmin Running Dynamics, is the smallest and lightest of the two straps. It comes with an adjustable strap, is designed for swim/bike/run triathlons and has the ability to provide running dynamics, such as cadence, vertical oscillation and ground contact time.

While the HRM-Swim, an ANT+ heart rate strap, is ideal for pool training, stores heart-rate data underwater and offers a special non-slip back surface to prevent it from sliding down your chest while swimming. I was quite skeptical about this non-slip strap, as kicking off the wall always creates problems, however it worked well and I got used to it quickly. The HRM-SWIM also sends real-time heart rate and interval summaries to a compatible watch when you are out of the water during rests. Swim strokes and stroke counts are all part of the data supplied.

Both the HRM-Swim and HRM-Tri are compatible with not only the Forerunner 920XT multisport but also the Forerunner 620, Fenix 3, Fenix 2 and Epix.

Other features include a 10-month replaceable battery for the HRM-Tri and an 18-month replaceable battery for the HRM-Swim. You can use Garmin Connect and Garmin Connect Mobile with both monitors, to view detailed metrics of your brick workouts or pool swims, including pace, strokes, mapping, etc.

In conclusion, the HRM-Tri and HRM-Swim add yet another necessary level to a triathletes’ and swimmers’ training programme, by offering them the most comprehensive data to help them train, improve performance and achieve their goals. So, these straps get the thumbs up from me as a welcome addition to an athlete’s arsenal.

Check out the Garmin HRM-Tri™ and HRM-Swim™ video:

More information
For an in-depth review of the straps, visit

For more than 25 years, Garmin has pioneered new GPS navigation and wireless devices and applications that are designed for people who live an active lifestyle. For more information on their range, visit