This is written from my point of view, your point of view may vary and I hope it does.
1) Michael Phelps beating Milorad Cavic in the 100 buterfly.
Michael Phelps dug down deep and set a WR in an epic swim where "trash-talk" got swimming talked about all over creation. It was the UFC version of Brock Lesnar versus Fedor Emelianenko and the "good guy", Michael Phelps, won. (I was rooting for Cavic.)2) Aaron Piersol setting a WR in the 200 back.
Both swam under world record time and both put the race onto the international radar! There must be something to making a race into a soap opera.
Aaron Peirsol, after failing to qualify in the 100 back, bounces back and sets a WR in the 200 backstroke making it clear he is the best ever.3) Britta Steffen definitively proving she is the greatest female sprinter on earth. None of the greats could touch her.
Per his interviews he seemingly let go of his loss like it was "water under a bridge" and he moved on to become the champion that he really is. How existential is that?
Britta Steffen is German Swimming and she is expected to win or the German press will tear her apart. Again, despite this pressure she steps up and spanks the best and those swimmers include, Dara Torres, Therese Alshammar, and Libby Trickett who really wanted to beat her.
4) Therese Alshammar placing second to Britta Steffen!
5) We saw the greatest Italian athlete ever, Federica Pellegrini, breaking the four minute barrier in the 400 free.
Alshammar who is better known as a short course meters sprinter finishing second to, Britta Stefen, in an amazing 50-free. She just gets younger-and-younger, faster-and-faster.
Top 5 low points:
On the covers of Italian national magazines and well clothed in Armani, she exudes style, class, charisma, a sketchy tattoo that crawls up her neck, and completes this package with abject swimming confidence.
She is the perfect "leading lady" for our sport. Swimming has never had someone this classy or this sexy. (Can you tell I am part Italian?)
1) Bob Bowman's rant and rationalization for Michael Phelps' loss in the 200-free to Paul Biedermann.
Bowman was the "Ugly American" in hi-def ranting pathetically about speedsuits and FINA. His grand threat to pull Michael Phelps out of international competition if his demands were not met greatly soured me on Michael Phelps. I am sure others feel the same way.2) FINA returning men to briefs and Jammers come January 1, 2010.
FINA responding in less than 24-hours to Bowman's tantrum and thereby restricting the use of speedsuit way ahead of schedule confirmed in my mind that the organization is in Speedo's pocket.3) Speedo Commonwealth swimmers; Period!
If you look at the biggest mouths yelling for a return to briefs, they are generally form National Governing Bodies with huge Speedo interests. This is my opinion.
4) That British swim journalist guy!
World records are over, swim and swimmer sponsorships just lost 75% of their funding.5) FINA open water officials waiting a day to award Fran Crippen a bronze medal.
Imagine going back to the hotel not knowing how you finished? This is about your life's work, your employment, your income.
Open water is evolving and this has to be fixed. I recommend "photo finish video."
The photo above comes from the The Big Picture gallery at Boston.com. [Link]