Remember when Michael Phelps retired and then got bored so he decided to race a shark? Well, those race results are in, and there’s a winner.
If you can even believe it, the Michael Phelps lost to the great white shark. Bummer. The race took place on Sunday, the first day of Discovery Channel’s always-anticipated Shark Week. Phelps and the shark went head-to-head in the waters of Cape Town, South Africa.
— Shark Week (@SharkWeek) July 24, 2017
Just to clear up the handling of the race, Phelps and the shark did not actually swim side by side in the ocean, though Discovery Channel really made it look like they were neck and neck. The 23-time gold medal-winning Olympian swam next to a simulation of the shark in the same ocean water for 100 meters at a different time. I think that’s fair since we don’t want Phelps to be attacked by a great white on live television. But Twitter wasn’t necessarily happy that it was just a simulation.
Turns out “Michael Phelps races a shark” was really just “Michael Phelps swims alone and then compares his time to a shark’s time.”
— Gary Parrish (@GaryParrishCBS) July 24, 2017
The shark finished a full two seconds ahead of Phelps, with the final times for the 100-meter dash coming in at 36.1 seconds and 38.1 seconds. This could have been predicted, however, since the average speed of a swimming great white shark is 25 mph, and Phelps’ overall fastest speed on record is 6 mph. The champion swimmer did have some help, however, wearing a sharkskin-like wetsuit and a monofin to make it even a little possible to win. Alas, it wasn’t to be.
I do think congratulations are in order for Phelps, though. To be so good at swimming that you can say, “I was asked to race a shark on live TV,” is definitely cooler than anything most of us can ever claim.