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Michael Phelps challenges a shark, ocean’s most fearsome predator

Phelps shark week

Discovery Channel started the screening of the series “Shark week”, which has a special guest this year. The 23-times Olympic champion Michael Phelps, the king of pools, challenged the king of the ocean – the great white shark. Phelps vs Shark saw the American swimmer don a ‘monofin’ take to the open waves off Cape Town, South Africa for Shark Week.

Backed by a 15-strong army of divers underneath him for protection, he emulated the shark’s shape and swimming conditions while racing over 100m. So did Phelps win the race of human conditioning and skill versus pure, survival of the fittest evolution? Well, some kind of it. Much to the disappointment of some viewers, the 32-year-old American swimmer didn’t actually compete with a real shark. Instead, the swimmer raced against three computer-generated sharks – a hammerhead, a reef shark and a Great White.

Michael Phelps Shark Week

“It was so exhilarating,” said Michael, 32. “My love for sharks has been there my whole life, this is a bucket list item. We raced 100 metres. It’s hard when you have low visibility, and we did set up a lane line to make it look like there was a pool, but it is challenging to see straight and see where you’re going in water like that. I wasn’t really expecting to absolutely win against a shark. I wanted to get in and give myself the best opportunity to see how fast I could go, to see how I could compare to the high speed of some of the animals that we have in the ocean,” Phelps reflected on his ambitious attempt.

MIchael Phelps vs Shark week

Actually, Phelps even managed to beat one of the sharks, the reef shark. In his first race, the swimmer came second to the hammerhead shark, beating the reef shark by .2 of a second. However, the Great White was to powerful for him to beat, as it was two whole seconds faster over 100m.

Michael didn’t lose his sense of humor, though, as he jokingly tweeted.