â€œI look kind of mean and aggressive looking,â€Â SpitzÂ said of the mesmerising photograph above. â€œNot mean in a personality way, but powerful.â€
For the modern viewer, the lack of goggles, let alone aÂ swimmingÂ cap, is one of the most immediately striking aspects of the image; that and the fact that it looks like the nine-time Olympic champion (he also won two golds at theÂ Mexico City 1968Â Games) swam with his eyes closed.
â€œMy eyes were always open, I think itâ€™s an illusion,â€ he protested with a laugh. As for no goggles, it equalled no problem. â€œWe swam without goggles and we did just fine,â€ he said with an air of finality. â€œSince that time I have swum with goggles and I find that my head position is strange, a little different.â€