Although the impact is certainly not quite on the same scale, Phelps clearly has the Tiger Woods affect on the sport of swimming. He brings fresh eyeballs to the sport, the kind that otherwise could not be bothered to so much as change the channel to watch swimming. And when those fresh eyeballs do happen to show up, he rarely, if ever, disappoints. That translates into additional dollars and increased popularity. Phelps' race against Lochte last night was kind of like Rocco Mediate staring down Woods at this year's U.S. Open (although in terms of talent, Lochte is more like Sergio Garcia or Phil Mickelson). Lochte pushed Phelps in a way he's never really been pushed before, and probably should have come out on top. Phelps hadn't come within several seconds of his own world record in the 400 IM in more than a year. At the Missouri Grand Prix earlier this year, I watched he and Katie Hoff make a bet as to who could come closer to their world record in that event. Phelps went 4:13, still won easily, and was visibly annoyed as he left the pool. It reminded of me of Woods shooting 69 and stomping off the driving rage to work on his swing.