Superb Spitz's golden splash

Superb Spitz's golden splash

Michael Phelps will forever be remembered for his stupendous achievements in Athens 2004 and Beijing 2008, grabbing a combined 14 gold from the two Games.

But before ‘The Baltimore Bullet’ held the world in his grasp, there was Mark Spitz.
Spitz -- born on February 10, 1950 in Modesto, California -- is one of the greatest swimmers of all time. Perhaps, it was his family’s decision to move from California to Hawaii, a water-haven, when he was young made an impact on Spitz or the countless hours he spent at the Arden Hills Swim Club in Sacramento.

The American began his travel to greatness leaving some indelible marks on the swimming circuit in the United States, and by the time he entered his first Olympics in 1968 (Mexico City), he had held an astounding ten world records.

Spitz, interestingly, had said before the start of the ’68 Games that he would win six gold but he ended up with only two gold and that too in the team events.

After the ‘disappointment’ in Mexico, Spitz decided to up his training programme and swam for the Indiana University Hoosiers where legendary swim coach Doc Counsilman handled the youngster.

The move paid off and how.  An improved Spitz returned to the 1972 Munich games, and even though the ‘Munich Massacre’ did take up most of the attention, the 6’1’’ US swimmer held his own by claiming seven golds — 100M freestyle, 200M freestyle, 100M butterfly, 200M butterfly, 4×100M freestyle relay, 4x200M freestyle relay and 4×100M medley relay titles — with world records for each of those medals, and the golden legacy of ‘Mark The Shark’ set during that Games.

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