I beg to differ. Both of my parents swam and I knew all of Stanford's top swimmers, almost to a man, extremely well, from Dick Roth to Brian Job. Ferris broke Spitz's WR in the 200-meter butterfly, as I'm sure you know. Ferris made the mistake of deciding to reverse his usual strategy of taking out the race in the Mexico City Final, and unfortunately it backfired, as Spitz was in last place with 50-meters to go. He then proceeded to swim to the Bronz, missing the Gold by a half a body length. His good friend Carl Robie won in 2:08.0, a time John had surpassed numerous times in workouts at the Lake Tahoe training center. The following spring, Ferris (not Spitz) became the first man under 1:50 in the 200-yard Fly -- in Indiana -- with Spitz not in the race, although Spitz made a point of racing down from the stands to congratulate him, although in fact to "prove" that the only reason John won was because Spitz didn't race.
Ferris was a massive talent. He set his first WR at age eight, and he's still setting them in workouts at age 61. He set his most recent one in a workout in Moscow, Russia, where he was living. His "problem," if you want to consider it one, was that he detested the swimming life that stole his childhood, so after Mexico City he never trained with his earlier fanaticism. Even so he was on multiple American record relays and won Golds in the World Student game in Turin.
I do happen to know what I'm talking about, and I do know that Spitz "sat" on Ferris for five consecutive races, beating him each time, because Spitz did have superior sprinting speed. This led to John's big mistake in Mexico.
I do know what I'm talking about. I love it when people think they know everything when basically what they're inhabiting is mythology.