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Ethan Swanson flew through the city finals

The Swan avoided the water to punch a ticket for Vegas

Michael Hickey/NBC

Against a stacked field that included all-time greats like Isaac Caldiero, Brian Arnold and Travis Rosen, Ethan Swanson left the Indianapolis City Finals with the fastest time. This daredevil wasn’t afraid to race through these difficult obstacles and was rewarded with a signature moment in what he hopes will be a memorable season.

To get to this level, Ethan stepped up his training. He’s joined with some other local stars to strengthen his weak spots and the results have shown. This speaks to the community aspect of American Ninja Warrior which Ethan himself spoke about when we caught up with him after the City Finals.

“Since last year, I think my training is the biggest thing that changed. I still manage Ultimate Ninjas in Chicago. But I’ve been training with Chris DiGangi, who’s now in Chicago. Jesse Labreck is now in Chicago. Tori Clement is now in Chicago. All these amazing stars are in Chicago and I get to train with them.

I am most nervous on really, really aggressive bicep obstacles because that’s my weakness. I like to straight arm, flow through stuff. But the stuff you have to force your way through? That’s the stuff I consider my weakness.

I just try to find out what my plan is and do my best to execute that plan. And know that there are multiple ways to get through obstacles. So even if something isn’t working, I can switch to another way that’s maybe less efficient, but will still get me through and not wet, hopefully.”

“The American Ninja Warrior fans are absolutely amazing. I’ve seen people who have lost 60 pounds, or 100 pounds because of American Ninja Warrior. I have the utmost respect for anyone that loses that amount of weight. It’s a hard thing to do, it’s a life style change.

I think people see American Ninja Warrior and they see how much fun all of us have out there, and they want to have that much fun. They have these goals for themselves. That is the most inspiring to me, to see people change their lives for the better because of American Ninja Warrior.”

“I like to climb high things. I think it’s really hard to recreate... Everyone gets nervous on American Ninja Warrior. Including myself. Including Drew Drechsel, I was just talking to him about it. Everyone gets nervous, so I try to recreate nerves as much as I can. But when you’re in your home gym, it’s comfortable. It’s a nice 60 degrees in the gym. It’s hard to get nervous about stuff you’re setting up. So I’ll set things up that are really high up, or I’ll go out in the city and I’ll do things that scare me.

I try to recreate the nerves because it’s really hard to practice nerves. You have to have something at risk to be nervous.”

For the record, ANW Nation does not suggest you go climb a high thing to recreate nerves. Be safe, everyone!

“Training for Ninja has definitely affected my whole life. It’s just consuming. For me, honestly, I will stop doing other things that are not Ninja related because I’m consumed by Ninja. It is my life, it’s my passion. It’s what I want to do the most. It’s what I think about. It’s what I dream about. It’s what I push myself to be the best at.

“I think I’ve been training really hard. I think this course looks amazing. It looks so exciting. New stuff out there. I expect that I should hit two buzzers. Barring a mistake, which can happen, I really want to hit two buzzers.”