Zane Grothe is an American distance freestyle specialist from Boulder City, Nevada. At six weeks old, Grothe was already in the pool learning water safety, and two decades later he was swimming for USA. Grothe comes from a swimming family with his older sister Alexis and younger twin sisters Natalie and Rachael all involved in the sport.
During his time at Boulder City High School, Grothe swam for Boulder City Henderson Swim Club where he developed into a five star recruit. He chose to swim collegiately at Auburn University where he studied Aerospace Engineering. He currently trains with the post-graduate group at Indiana University.
As a Tiger, Grothe cemented his name as one of the schools best distance freestylers, holding records in the 500, 1,000, and 1,650 yard freestyle along with the 800 yard freestyle relay by the time his senior season concluded. Over his four-year campaign he collected 12 All-American honors and was a two-time SEC champion.
Grothe made an immediate impact for the Tigers reaching the championship final in all three of his individual races at the SEC Championships. In the 1650 yard freestyle he finished fourth in 14:57.46, breaking a nine-year-old school record in the process. At his first NCAA Championships, Grothe finished sixth in the mile, again breaking the school record and seventh in the 500 yard freestyle. He also swam the 200 yard freestyle, finishing 17th overall.
As a sophomore, Grothe won his first SEC title in the 800 yard freestyle relay. At the NCAA Championships he broke his own 1,650 yard freestyle record by over 10 seconds to place fourth, the highest ever placing by an Auburn swimmer in the event. He also picked up a fourth place finish in the 500 yard freestyle, as well as 12th in the 800 yard freestyle relay and 14th in the 200 yard freestyle.
At the 2013 SEC Championships, Grothe won his first individual title in the 1,650 yard freestyle. At the NCAA Championships he finished seventh in the 500 yard freestyle, 12th in the 200 yard freestyle, 15th in the mile and 19th in the 800 yard freestyle relay.
In his final season as an Auburn Tiger, Grothe finished fifth in the 1,650 yard freestyle at the NCAA Championships. He also earned All-American honors in the 500 yard freestyle with an 11th place finish and seventh in the 800 yard freestyle relay.
After his college career, and notably posting slower times his senior year than he had in previous years, Grothe went back to his old coach and swam 3 taper meets with him. He went slower and slower times each of those 3 meets. After the 3rd meet, Grothe seriously contemplated retiring, feeling defeated and that swimming had turned his back on him. After thinking about it through the night, Grothe decided to give it one more shot, under a new training regime, in a new city.
Grothe moved to Bloomington and started training with the IU postgrad group, including the likes of his friendly childhood competitor, Cody Miller. He started seeing success, first in the form of best times, then of qualifying for international teams, and finally solidifying his rise to the distance thrown by smashing both 500 and 1,650 yard freestyle records at the 2017 Winter nationals.
2016 FINA World Short Course Championships
At the World Championships in Windsor, Canada, Grothe won a silver medal in the 800 meter freestyle relay. He swam the anchor leg, bringing USA home in 6:53.34 to touch behind Russia. He also swam in the 400 meter freestyle final, finishing seventh overall in 3:40.20 and finished 13th in the 200 meter freestyle.
2017 World Championship Trials
Grothe inked his name on the USA World Championship team with a third place finish in the 200 meter freestyle. He stormed down the final stretch with the fastest split of 26.91 to take the bronze in 1:46.39, just 0.9 behind his training partner Blake Pieroni in second. To continue his impressive meet, Grothe took down Olympians Clark Smith and Townley Haas in the 400 meter freestyle to take the gold in 3:44.43 and give him an individual swim in Budapest. That time puts him as the 7th fastest American all time. He also added a silver medal in the 800 freestyle behind Smith to add to his events at Worlds.
2017 World Championships
First up for the World Championship debutant was the 800 meter freestyle. The 25-year-old made it to the final and finished 8th overall in 7:52.43.
On day six in Budapest, Grothe won a bronze medal in the 4×200 meter freestyle relay when he joined Blake Pieroni, Townley Haas and Jack Conger in the final. Grothe split 1:46.90 to help Team USA finish third in 7:03.18 behind Great Britain and Russia.
2017 U.S. Winter Nationals
At the 2017 U.S. Winter National Championships, Grothe swam a 4:07.25 in the 500 yard freestyle. That set a new Championship, U.S. Open, and American Record in the event, clearing the old record of 4:08.42 (Clark Smith) by more than a second. Grothe also posted a record-breaking mile when he swam a time of 14:18.25 which broke the Championship, U.S. Open, and American Records. The previous record was held by Smith with a time of 14:22.41.
2018 U.S. National Championships
Grothe won the 800 freestyle title (with a U.S. Open record time of 7:44.57) and the 400 free title (3:46.53) at the Phillips 66 National Championships . He also finished third in the 1500 freestyle (15:00.85) and 18th in the 200 free (1:48.32).
2018 Pan Pacific Championships
After claiming he would break the 15-minute barrier once he got to Tokyo at nationals, Grothe delivered on day 1 of pan pacs, demolishing his best time and touching the wall at 14:48.40 to earn his first international individual medal. On day 3 of pan pacs, Grothe earned a bronze in the 400 free by touching 3rd in a time of 3:45.37. He finished off his pan pacs performance with a gold in the men’s 800, winning in a time of 7:43.74.