The YMCA in Omaha is celebrating their 150th anniversary with a gala Saturday at the CenturyLink Center. The guest speaker for the event is Olympic champion and former world record holder in seven events, Mark Spitz. He says the YMCA is near and dear to his heart.
Spitz says, “I was in a Camp YMCA program in 1959. There was a brand new swimming pool that had just been built and they were filling it up. The kids got to go into the swimming program and that is how I got introduced to swimming.”
And swim he did. Spitz competed in the 1969 and 1972 Olympic Games winning nine gold, one silver and one bronze medal. The seven gold medals won in the 1972 games in Munich was an achievement surpassed only by Michael Phelps. Spitz says he still swims about four times a week in a master swim program.
Spitz will be signing autographs and visiting with YMCA members at the downtown branch at 430 South 20th Street starting at 1 p.m. The gala starts at 7.