At the 2008 US Olympic trials, Spann won the 200m breaststroke in 2:09.97, earning a spot on the US Olympic Team roster. Spann also placed third in the 100m breaststroke at trials in 1:00.59. At the 2008 Summer Olympics inBeijing, Spann placed sixth overall in the 200m breaststroke in 2:09.76.
In September 2008, following the Olympics, Spann had surgery to remove a piece of bone that had broken off of hispatella and embedded in his tendon. Previously diagnosed as tendonitis, Spann believes he sustained the injury in late 2007 or early 2008 during dryland weight training. Spann swam in a tri-meet for Texas against Michigan and Indiana only a few weeks after surgery. A second surgery followed in November to remove thebursa sac, which had swelled because he began swimming too soon after the first surgery, and to reshape the tendon, which had been frayed by the patella. Spann then developed a staph infection from the surgical wounds. He needed three more surgeries to fight the infection. Spann missed the rest of the 2008–09NCAA season, his first with Texas after transferring from Michigan.
Spann competed for Michigan from 2006–2008. While swimming for Michigan, Spann placed second in the 200y breaststroke and fourth in the 100y breaststroke at the 2008 NCAA Championships. Spann transferred to Texas in 2008, after his sophomore year. In his junior year at Texas, Spann placed 2nd in both the 100y and 200y breaststrokes at the 2010 NCAA Championships.
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