Watch Mark Spitz Race at the NCAA Championships, 1969-1972

Though Mark Spitz is best known for winning 7 gold medals in swimming at the 1972 Olympic Games in Munich, he also had a legendary NCAA career as a student-athlete at Indiana University from 1968 to 1972.

Though Spitz was already an Olympian and Olympic medalist from the 1968 Olympic Games in Mexico City, the ’68 Games were far from the result Spitz had hoped for. Fortunately, Spitz was young and had his entire NCAA swimming career ahead of him, which he chose to spend at Indiana University under the tutelage of Doc Counsilman, who was also his Olympic coach in Mexico City.

Spitz’s first season as an NCAA student-athlete swimmer was also the first year in NCAA history that freshmen were allowed to swim at the NCAA Championships, meaning Spitz would get four goes at history on the national stage and not just three like his predecessors.

The video below shows some of Spitz’s best individual swims as an NCAA student-athlete. Some of the most interesting differences between the swimmers then and now include the techniques used for starts, the number of swimmers per heat, and of course, the “ordinary” swimsuits and the lack of caps and goggles.

Mark Spitz‘s Individual NCAA Titles, 1969-1972 (SCY)

1969 200 Freestyle 1:39.53 1969 NCAA Championships
1969 500 Freestyle 4:33.48* 1969 NCAA Championships
1969 100 Butterfly 49.69 1969 NCAA Championships
1970 100 Butterfly 49.82 1970 NCAA Championships
1971 100 Butterfly 49.42 1971 NCAA Championships
1971 200 Butterfly 1:50.10 1971 NCAA Championships
1972 100 Butterfly 47.99 1972 NCAA Championships
1972 200 Butterfly 1:46.90 1972 NCAA Championships

*The commentator notes that Spitz went a 4:33.2 in the prelims. Spitz is swimming in lane 3 for the final, but the pool only has 6 lanes which makes the swimmer in lane 3 the top seed.

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ACC fan
9 months ago

Spitz was amazing. In a class of his own. Crazy that today’s fastest women butterfliers beat his NCAA title times!

Reply to  ACC fan
9 months ago

Not his senior year times.

Reply to  ACC fan
9 months ago

Not that crazy.

9 months ago

Small point. Spitz wasn’t an Indiana native. He’s from California and Hawaii.

Reply to  MarkB
7 months ago

I was just going to type that. I believe Santa Clara? Santa Barbara?

9 months ago

Cool to see the different venues, including Iowa State’s Beyer Hall – still used for competition today – at the ’71 championship!

Reply to  SwimMann
9 months ago

I have swam at Beyer hall. I like the history but Iowa State could use another pool soon!!

About Reid Carlson

Reid Carlson

Reid Carlson originally hails from Clay Center, Kansas, where he began swimming at age six.  At age 14 he began swimming club year-round and later with his high school team, making state all four years.  He was fortunate enough to draw the attention of Kalamazoo College where he went on to …

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