Mark Spitz was born on February 10, 1950 in Modesto, California. He started to swim at the age of 2, at the Waikiki Beach in Hawaii. By the age of 6, he was competing in the local swimming club and by the age of 10, he already had to his credit 17 national records in different age groups. His family was aware of the huge potential this young kid had, so they moved to Santa Clara for Spitz to train with George F. Haines. During his four year training with Haines between 1964 and 1868, he was able to set a new record in every stroke and distance that he participated in.
At the age of 16, he won his first AAU (Amateur Athletic Union) Title in the 100 meter butterfly. That same year he emerged on the international swimming scene with a world record timing in the 400 meter freestyle (4:10.60). In the year 1967, Spitz was able to win five Gold medals at the Pan American Games, a record which stood for 40 years. Next came the 1968 Olympics, where the world was expecting some fireworks from an 18 year world record holder. But Spitz could not win even one individual Gold medal. He won a Silver in the 100m butterfly and the Bronze in the 100m freestyle.