Mark Spitz (1950- ) Between 1968 and 1972, Spitz won nine Olympic golds plus a silver and a bronze, five Pan American golds, 31 US Amateur Athletic Union titles and eight US National Collegiate Athletic Association titles. During those years, he set 33 world records. He was the most successful athlete at the 1972 Summer Olympics. He was named World Swimmer of the Year in 1969, 1971 and 1972.
Mark Spitz can legitimately claim the title of second-best American swimmer in history. His mark of seven gold medals in the 1972 Olympics has only been eclipsed by Michael Phelps’ record of eight in the 2008 Beijing Games.