oh i don't want this thread to go unanswered but there's a really good website that has good swimming workouts to keep you motivated. I've got it written down somewhere at work, so when i've found it it will pass it on!
Also the whole what to wear thing. I'm a size 16 and the top of my legs aren't my nicest point and i don't like a traditional swimming costume. I wear board shorts and a tankini. I got mine from very.co.uk there was a good 3 for 2 on on swimwear
Hi, I love swimming, I don't know of any gadgets that track distance (there are swim watches that time laps but I'm not sure they track distance but check). I tend to count my lengths in sets of ten to keep track. I am more of a fan of one piece suits but whatever you find most comfortable for the stroke you do - probably more important than ease of going to the loo .
Top tip I have is a kind of semi mask I bought recently after years of leaky/foggy/too tight goggles that left horrible rings round my eyes here. this was a revelation - it doesn't even move or leak when I dived in. That website is great too by the way.
There is a site called swim fit.com with lots of tips on strokes and training programmes, I think you can log your swims on it too, although my fitness pal/livestrong/mapmyrun also good for that and can be combined with food diary so you see your calorie intake and usage through exercise, which I find really useful.
Also, once you start feeling fitter than now, try interval training; swim as hard as you can for one length then one (2 if you need it) at a much easier pace to recover. Repeat for 10-20 minutes. It's a killer but will really burn fat and improve your fitness rapidly, also great on days when you don't have time for a 40 minute + swim, you can be in and out in 20-30 minutes, allowing for 5 minutes warming up and cooling down. This type of training also apparently boosts your metabolism for hours after you stop exercising in a way that steady state cardio doesn't.