Ultra Swim Swimmer of the Month is a recurring SwimSwam feature shedding light on a U.S.-based swimmer who has proven themselves over the past month. As with any item of recognition, Swimmer of the Month is a subjective exercise meant to highlight one athlete whose work holds noteworthy context – perhaps a swimmer who was visibly outperforming other swimmers over the month, or one whose accomplishments slipped through the cracks among other high-profile swims. If your favorite athlete wasn’t selected, feel free to respectfully recognize them in our comment section.
Despite a month of fast swimming around the country and world, you won’t find two finer swims than Zane Grothe‘s distance free American records.
Grothe went unprecedented times in the 500 free and 1650 free at U.S. Winter Nationals, smashing past the best swims of his career at the age of 25, well past when many distance swimmers choose to hang up the speedo.
It’s worth drawing attention to the first paragraph of this story, which goes unread a surprising amount of times each month. This monthly honor is specifically geared towards U.S.-based swimmers. In this case, that thankfully doesn’t force us to have a heated comparison between U.S. Winter Nationals and the European Short Course Championships, where a swimmer like Kliment Kolesnikov could make a decent case. That argument mostly just devolves into Europeans loudly declaring how little they care about short course yards and Americans loudly declaring how little they care about short course meters until we all just wish we were arguing about something less painful, like Michael Andrew or whether College Team X was suited up or not.
Grothe’s times were well below the best in history – his 4:07.25 is the first sub-4:08 in history in the 500, and his 14:18.25 is the first sub-14:22 time in history in the mile. You can watch race videos below:
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