For Zane Grothe, the Poseidon Swim Challenge was a different kind of distance race. Rather than swimming his typical 1000 or mile in the pool, Grothe tackled the 2 kilometer swim through the Indianapolis Canal, complete with freezing waters, an excited crowd, and a collision with a shopping cart.
On July 12, 2020, about 100 swimmers embarked upon Indianapolis’ Poseidon Swim Challenge, a 2k swim that runs through the canal in Downtown Indianapolis. This event draws age group swimmers and triathletes alike to challenge themselves in a fun, open-water environment. Grothe too accepted the challenge and completed the swim in 24 minutes.
In recent months, Grothe has been no stranger to open-water swimming. Because recent Covid-19 restrictions have limited pool time, Grothe and his teammates have been training in a pond. Grothe was encouraged to do the swim by the property owner who “would occasionally be out there training…he was the one who told me about it since I was the resident distance swimmer… and I was like ‘yeah! Let’s give it a go!’ So I did.”
The swim started at the northernmost point of the canal and ended at the southernmost point, creating a relatively straight shot until the end, where swimmers encountered some sharp turns to finish off the race. While the course was straightforward, for Zane Grothe the finish was not entirely so. After catching his hand in a shopping cart that was in the water, Grothe finished the remaining 50 meters before turning back to help remove the cart from the canal, “I ran into a shopping cart… and it scared me!… It was a little too far for [one of the course directors] to reach, so I lifted it out and he grabbed it.”
Grothe took more away from the swim than just a conch shell trophy. He had the experience of watching young age-groupers accomplish a challenging swim, even fending off some of the adults to beat them to the finish. Grothe encourages “anybody who is in Indianapolis or anybody with a distance or open water background or who has the intention to swim open water to do it. [The Poseidon Swim Challenge] is a great start.”
“All along the concrete edge of the canal, it says ‘no swimming’ so you just assume that no one is ever in the water swimming. Now whenever I’m up there, I can say ‘yeah! I swam in the canal!”