But some of the stay-at-homers did well, too. Hall won both individual medleys and was a close second to Spitz in the butterflys, and Ellie Daniel set a world record in the 200 butterfly. This summer, while living with Debbie Meyer's family in Sacramento, Ellie went on a diet consisting mainly of meat, cottage cheese and fruit. She became known as Eloise Cottage Cheese, but her weight dropped and she, like Spitz, came to Houston in top shape. She set her record (2:18.4) in a heat, then tied it in the final, both she and runner-up Karen Moe being below the old mark.
It also was noteworthy that several champions of long standing found themselves floundering in the wake of new, young up-and-comers. Kinsella didn't win a race, and Burton was shut out until the final night, when he took the 1,500. Brian Job lost both breaststrokes (he holds the world record in the 200) and announced he was going to take a "long, relaxing vacation." And Debbie Meyer was a dismal 14th overall in the 200 freestyle, in which she holds the world record.
After that race Debbie went back to her motel room and cried for 15 minutes. Then she had a long "girl talk" with her mother. "My pride was hurt," Debbie said. "People think that once you're up there on top, nothing can hurt you. But you have feelings, too, like any other human being. When I got back to the motel, I let it all out. I had kept it bottled up too long.
"For a long time now I've been in a kind of limbo, just kind of hanging in there. I finally realized that I haven't done enough, that I have to make a decision—to get in or get out. I've decided to stay in and now I'm really going to buckle down. Like I had a lot of social life this summer, but now I'm going to cut down on that. It's going to be all seriousness. And if I can make the Olympic team and swim in just one race, I'll be happy."
Spitz' happy summer began when he arrived home in Carmichael, Calif., accompanied by Andy-Up, an Old English sheepdog puppy. Andy-Up weighed six pounds then but now is up to 55 and still growing, which seems to puzzle Stanley, the family dachshund. "Sometimes I get the feeling that Stanley thinks he's shrinking," says Arnold Spitz, Mark's father.
Mark also traded his TR6 for a new Mustang and broke a wedding engagement. An aspiring dentist, he spent much of his free time in the office of a dentist whose son swims with the Spitzes at Arden Hills. Among Mark's other interests is stereo, and he managed to talk the Arden Hills coach, Sherm Chavoor, into buying $1,800 worth of new equipment.
"I had just bought a new set and I was real proud of it," says Chavoor. "But I made the mistake of showing it to Mark and he said right off, 'That's a pile of junk.' Before I knew it he had talked me into dumping that set and buying a whole new outfit. He can be very persuasive."
So can Chavoor, which helps make him one of the finest U.S. coaches. Having been impressed with the way he was bringing along Nancy, Mark began to work out with Chavoor, swimming more hours (about 4� per day) and yardage (around 8,500 daily) than ever before. For his part, Chavoor handled Mark with kid gloves. He often consulted by phone with Doc Counsilman, Mark's coach at Indiana, and when Mark decided he wanted to skip a workout Chavoor let him.
"He's not a kid anymore, he's a grown man," says Chavoor, "so you have to treat him accordingly. You can't threaten or yell at a Mark Spitz, a Debbie Meyer or a Mike Burton. They've been around too long."
Not everything went smoothly for the Spitz family in Houston. Chavoor had expected Nancy to be a strong contender in the freestyles, but her best was a sixth. Some amateur psychologists said she was intimidated by Mark's success, others said she was trying too hard to please her perfectionist father (SI, March 9,1970). Arnold Spitz, more conspicuous than ever with his Fu Manchu mustache, seemed puzzled. "Is it my fault?" he kept asking. "If it is, tell me so and I'll stay away from her."