There were mixed emotions on the IU campus when Mark Spitz, the second-greatest swimmer in the world, enrolled. Spitz is accustomed to being the center of attention. How would he react to playing second fiddle to Charlie Hickcox? For that matter, how would Charlie Hickcox like having Spitz around? Would dissension break up the Hoosiers, just when Counsilman was on the brink of putting together the best swimming team in collegiate history?
Hickcox showed where he stood early on. Almost as soon as Spitz set foot on campus, in fact, after he had slipped and fallen flat on his back in the unfamiliar snow, Mr. and Mrs. Charles Buchanan Hickcox II threw a luncheon in Spitz's honor at their apartment. "A lot of the reason some guys don't like Mark is envy," Hickcox says. "He's got so much natural ability. Where a guy like me has to work for everything he gets, it comes easy to Mark. But everybody here likes him and that's what's important. Mark's never had any real friends. Down in Mexico some of his own teammates were pulling against him. But we're glad to have him."
However, just in case, Counsilman preserves a certain demilitarized zone by not letting his two stars swim against each other. "Charlie really likes Mark," says Counsilman. "However, he may not like him so much in a race. With a guy like Charlie on the team, you've got a tremendous stud. But with Charlie leaving, Spitz will step right in there for the next three years."
Of course, Doc doesn't know this: one day Spitz was over at the Hickcox apartment, and Charlie was off on his favorite tangent, telling the guys about how he was going to go out for the football team. Spitz is a splendid swimmer but he is also 19 years old and, therefore, still a little impressionable. "You know, I've always liked football, too," he said, "and I think it's true of any athlete that if you have the ability you can go into other sports and do well, so maybe...." All a guy could think of was Doc Counsilman, riding in the DC-3, saying, "A-a-a-u-gh."