To participants, Saturday’s "That Dam Swim at Tempe Town Lake" represented an opportunity to test their speed and endurance by swimming the entire length of the man-made reservoir.
For Tempe officials, it was a chance to practice for the aquatic leg of the Ironman Triathlon, which by all indications will be coming soon to the East Valley.
The city is expected to announce Friday it will host an upcoming Ironman event, according to Tempe Town Lake marketing coordinator Kris Baxter.
Even without the Ironman, Tempe Town Lake has become a common venue for athletic events such as triathlons, swimming and rowing.
Baxter said the famous competition would cement Tempe’s status as a destination for world-class sporting events, since the city already hosts AVP Pro Beach Volleyball tournaments and the Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon.
About 100 swimmers competed in Saturday’s race, which was 2 miles long from the lake’s west end to the inflatable dam at the east end. Tucson resident Chris Zeches, 19, won with a time of 39 minutes, 44 seconds.
Tempe residents Katy James, 48, and Christie Altman, 54, participated to challenge themselves. James said the two swim together frequently, but usually not that far.
"It was kind of a doubledare," she said. "I said I would do it if she would do it."