Host City: MÃ¼nchen, West Germany
Venue(s): Swimming Hall, Olympic Park, MÃ¼nchen
Date Started: August 29, 1972
Date Finished: August 29, 1972
[Mark Spitz] was the heavy favorite, as this was one of his four individual events in his attempt to win seven swimming gold medals in Munich. The day before the 200 freestyle, he had won his first two gold medals in the 200 butterfly and with the United Statesâ 4 x 100 freestyle relay team. His biggest challenger was thought to have been his teammate, [Steve Genter], but Genter had been hospitalized in Munich only four days earlier with a collapsed lung (pneumothorax), and had to have the air and fluid drained from his chest cavity. However, Genter heroically came to the line on Tuesday morning for the prelims and qualified for the final easily.
In the final Spitz went out fast, leading Soviet [Vladimir Bure], later a bronze medalist in the 100 free, at the first turn. But on the second lap, Genter took over the lead, 54.93 to Spitzâs 55.06. Spitz closed on the third lap, but Genter turned better to regain the lead for the final 50. Defending champion [Michael Wenden] of Australia closed to third at 150, but he fell back in the closing metres. The final lap was all Spitz who won by five metres and almost a second, with Genter taking a courageous silver. The bronze medal went to the fast closing [Werner Lampe] of West Germany. For Spitz it was three down, four to go.