Disclaimer: Dolfin Swim of the Week is not meant to be a conclusive selection of the best overall swim of the week, but rather one Featured Swim to be explored in deeper detail. The Dolfin Swim is an opportunity to take a closer look at the context of one of the many fast swims this week, perhaps a swim that slipped through the cracks as others grabbed the headlines, or a race we didn’t get to examine as closely in the flood of weekly meets.
Olympic legend Mark Spitz made his first foray into the world record books on this day in 1967 – and re-set that world record almost exactly one year later.
Swimming at a small, local meet in Hayward, California, a 17-year-old Spitz went 4:10.6 to become the first man ever under 4:11 in the 400-meter freestyle. By that point, Spitz was already an age group phenom and a national high school record-holder, and had won four gold medals at the Maccabiah Games in 1965. His world record breakthrough came on June 25, 1967. Later that summer, Spitz would win a record five gold medals at the Pan American Games. He didn’t even swim the 400 free at that meet, and watched teammate Greg Charlton lower the world record to 4:08.2.
But almost exactly one year after Spitz’s first world record swim, he was back at the local relay meet in Hayward, blasting a 4:07.7 to become the first man under 4:08 in the event. That summer, Spitz would go on to win two golds, a silver and a bronze at the 1968 Olympics.
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