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Yes, because of the water medium, it interferes with your heart rate transmission. Because of this, it’s harder to gain purposeful heart rate data from swimming. Thus, swim pace is the preferred method of capturing swim pace.
In addition, some people swim in 25 yard, others 25 meter, others 50 meters. Thus it’s best to do the swim test in the pool that you usually swim so you are comparing apples to apples.