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.