Up in the stands sat blond Bill Mulliken, the Miami ( Ohio) University senior who two nights before had astonished the swimming world by winning a gold medal in, of all things, the 200-meter breaststroke—by far our weakest event. Unperturbed by the fact that his best previous times were almost five seconds off the world's best, Mulliken had blandly announced before the race that the Aussies were studying him. "And if they're thinking about you, they're worrying about you."
They didn't have to worry about Mulliken in Thursday's medley relay. He sat it out while teammate Paul Hait swam the breaststroke leg. Against the Australian world record holder, Terry Gathercole, Hait held his own in fine style.
Deep-chested Mike Troy dominated the 200-meter butterfly as expected, windmilling to a new world record of 2:12.8. Blonde Lynn Burke methodically fanned out a new world record of 1:09 on the backstroke leg of Friday's medley ("This is for you, Dad"), then won the 100-meter backstroke gold medal the next night in 1:09.3 ("This one is for Mom").
Most impressive of all, and most fitting, was the climax provided by the American women's freestyle relay team Saturday night. Carolyn Wood of Portland, Ore., who is just 14, made up for all the heartbreak of Tuesday's 100-meter butterfly (when she swallowed a pint of water on the turn, dropped out and ran from the pool in tears). Saturday night she put her little head down on the third leg of the freestyle relay and swam away from Australia's Lorraine Crapp, giving Chris von Saltza a two-foot lead for the anchor haul. Chris stretched that into two meters at the finish for the sixth U.S. world swimming record of the Olympics. The time of 4:08.9 chopped more than eight seconds from the Australian record.
On the water Americans were less persuasive than in it. On Lake Albano the U.S. was defeated, after 40 years of supremacy, in the eight-oared shells. The Navy eight was beaten not only by favored Germany (SI, Aug. 22) but also by Canada, Czechoslovakia and France—and on millpond-smooth water.
After the week's trials most American fans had conceded defeat and were ready to cheer for the Canadian eight from the University of British Columbia, just to keep the gold medal in North America. Besides, any crew that has had to dodge driftwood in Vancouver Harbor during practice, has trained together only four months and has an oarsman who is one of 13 brothers and sisters (Nelson Coon, the No. 5) deserves some applause.
Hitting 38 to 41 strokes per minute in the body of the race, the unconventional German crew led at 500, 1,000 and 1,500 meters, only to fall slightly behind the equally high-stroking Canadian boat with perhaps 100 meters to go. At this point the Germans pushed the beat to 44 and swung confidently across the finish line three-quarters of a length ahead of the Canadians. The time was a very fast 5:57.18.
Tippy Goes, American Olympic rowing chairman, had hoped for three gold medals from Stan Pocock's Lake Washington Rowing Club oarsmen in the small boats, but he had to settle for one. The U.S. four-oars-without-cox won handily over Italy and Russia in 6:26.26.
"Never in my life have I seen so many fast boats," said Goes, ruefully.
At Naples, American yacht-racing skippers were seeing plenty of fast boats, too. After four days of competition the U.S. could claim only one leader—the 5.5-meter sloop sailed by Boston's George O'Day. The surprise of the yachting events was a Moscow draftsman named Timir Pinegin, who had three firsts and a second in the Star class and was virtually uncatchable in the three remaining races.