Can swimmer Paul Biedermann beat Mark Spitz in 1972?

American Mark Spitz, the decorated world champion and 9-time gold medal Olympian, is a total legend among competitive swimmers. With his trademark moustache and Speedo, he set a number of world records and became a pop culture icon.

Who is Paul Biedermann?

It’s no surprise that top German swimmer Paul Biedermann counts Spitz as one of his idols.

 Paul Biedermann and Mark Spitz

Biedermann – the exceptional swimmer who made international news in 2009 when he famously beat Michael Phelps and set a new world record in the 200 m freestyle – is featured in our latest production, The Equalizer. When Biedermann beat Phelps by almost a full second, Phelps and many others felt that Biedermann had an unfair advantage – his swimsuit. He wore a polyurethane high-tec swimsuit called the Arena X-Glide, invented and declared legal in 2009.


In The Equalizer, we have pitted Biedermann against Spitz’s world record time in the 200 m freestyle set in Munich in 1972.

Producer Kristian Kähler filmed the shoot in Dresden, in a “vintage” 1960s era pool in East Germany. “Paul was really interested and he really wanted to know if he could beat Mark Spitz,” Kähler said. “We felt very relaxed and comfortable with Paul, as he liked the idea and was really trying to perform best. And he is a very down to earth friendly person.”

Who do you think would have the better time if the conditions were equalized? Can Spitz hang on to his record or will Biedermann (wearing that classic Speedo) beat him? Here are some more photos from the shoot!



Biedermann swimming in a pool

Biedermann headshot

Needless to say, it was a fantastic race with a surprising finish. We can’t wait to share it with you!

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Want to stay on top of production news for The Equalizer? We’ll be posting updates and photos from our shoots this summer on this blog and Kensington’s social media channels. Follow @KensingtonTV on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram!

The Equalizer is a special one-hour TV investigation exploring the impact of scientific advancements on personal bests in individual sports. The made-for-TV doc is a coproduction with Berlin Producers for broadcast on CBC, SRC Explora and ZDF Arte.