US swimmer, winner of seven gold medals in the 1972 Munich Olympics and holder of twenty-seven world records for freestyle and butterfly (1967–72).
Spitz began swimming at the age of eight and was soon training for seventy-five minutes a day. Later his father took a job as general manager of a scrap metal company near Santa Clara, California, which enabled Spitz to train with coach Haines. The benefits of this arrangement were soon evident when Spitz reached the national championships at the age of fourteen and had broken five world records in international competitions by the age of seventeen. At the 1968 Olympic Games in Mexico City he won two gold medals for swimming. The following year Spitz went to the University of Indiana, where he came under swimming coach James Counsilman. By 1972, more mature both physically and mentally, Spitz realized his full potential by winning gold medals in the 100 m and 200 m freestyle and butterfly, the 4 × 100 m and 4 × 200 m freestyle relays, and the 4 × 200 m medley relay. Since leaving university Spitz has made a career in real estate.
Subjects: Contemporary History (Post 1945).