Host City: Ciudad de México, Mexico
Venue(s): Francisco Márquez Olympic Swimming Pool, Ciudad de México
Date Started: October 24, 1968
Date Finished: October 24, 1968
[Don Schollander] had dominated 1964 Olympic swimming, winning four gold medals, but his best event, the 200 freestyle, was not even on the Olympic Program in 64. The event was added for Mexico City and since Tokyo, he had set five world records in the event, capped by 1:54.3 at the US Trials in late August in Long Beach, California, which gave him nine world records overall in this event. He was considered the clear favorite. [Michael Wenden] had already won the 100 freestyle in Mexico City but few thought he could defeat Schollander in this race. Wenden had not heard that, as he took the lead on the first lap, having half a body length on Schollander at 50 metres. He opened that to a full body length at 100 metres and then hung on. Schollander closed in the last 25 metres but couldn’t make up the gap as Wenden won the 100-200 sprint freestyle double, 1:55.2 to 1:55.8. One absentee in the final was America’s [Steve Rerych], later a renowned heart surgeon, who was a victim of the tourista in Mexico City. Schollander retired after the Mexico City Olympics. Wenden continued to compete, returning to win four gold medals at the 1970 Commonwealth Games, and competing at the Munich Olympics, although he failed to medal there.