Michael Phelps

Michael Phelps, Shark
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Michael Phelps loses Shark Week ‘race’ to great white (video)

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Michael Phelps was beaten by a great white shark in a Shark Week “race.”

Great White: 36.1 seconds
Michael Phelps: 38.13 seconds

Full video is here.

“I don’t like taking silver medals, but I’ll take one to a great white,” said Phelps, who complained about swimming in 50-degree water in a thin wetsuit but still called it “a dream come true.” “We don’t swim in this, so it basically just shocks our entire body. It’s almost like [the shark is] a bullet.”

The 23-time Olympic champion was not in the race water at the same time as a shark on “Phelps vs. Shark: Great Gold vs. Great White,” which aired on Discovery Channel on Sunday night.

Instead, experts determined the speeds and movements of sharks for hypothetical races. Then, Phelps dove into open water off South Africa alone with a monofin and swam to a buoy earlier this year.

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Experts determined a great white could cover 100 meters in 36.1 seconds, which is much faster than Brazilian Cesar Cielo‘s 100m freestyle world record of 46.91.

They said a great white could reach up to 26 miles per hour at its fastest, meaning it could close the final 10 meters of a race in one second.

Early in the show in the Bahamas, Phelps outswam a hypothetical reef shark but was beaten by a hammerhead’s late surge in a 50-meter race.

Michael Phelps, Shark

The show used Phelps’ world record 100m butterfly swim from the 2009 World Championships for reference, saying he reached about 5.5 miles per hour at the end of the race.

A shark was super-imposed into a lane in that worlds race and easily outdistanced Phelps in the last 25 meters.

Phelps will star on the final night of Shark Week in “Shark School with Michael Phelps” next Sunday at 8 ET.

“Michael Phelps joins Doc Gruber and Tristan Guttridge of the Bimini Shark Lab to get a crash course on everything ‘shark,'” according to Discovery Channel. “They’ll dispel the myths and common misconceptions, teach him how to safely dive with sharks – including how to stay calm when a hammerhead swims two feet above his face – and will get Michael Phelps up close and personal with the incredible power of a great white.”

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Michael Phelps, Shark
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Michael Phelps details Shark Week race on Jimmy Fallon (video)

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In case you haven’t heard, Michael Phelps raced a shark for Discovery Channel’s Shark Week.

The 23-time Olympic champion made the media rounds in New York on Thursday promoting Sunday’s premiere of “Phelps vs. Shark: Great Gold vs. Great White” at 8 p.m. ET.

He stopped by The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, where they discussed the race and more.

Phelps didn’t show it off in the clip, but he recently received fresh ink in the form of a temporary shark tattoo on his left bicep.

Phelps is known to have two other tattoos — the Olympic rings and a large “M,” perhaps in reference to his home state of Maryland or his University of Michigan stint — both on his hips.

Phelps’ Olympic teammates are preparing for the world championships in Budapest starting Sunday (broadcast schedule here).

“We’re all trying to see if we can get the Discovery Channel at the hotel, so we could watch the shark race on Sunday,” Katie Ledecky said on Friday, according to Agence France-Presse.

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Michael Phelps rattled by great white shark in cage (video)

Michael Phelps
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Michael Phelps wants to make it clear about his Shark Week “race” with a great white.

“We’re not in the water at the same exact time,” he said on “Good Morning America” on Thursday, promoting his Sunday appearance on Discovery Channel. “That’s the thing we want everybody to know. I was safe, which is No. 1. I had, you know, 12 to 14 divers underneath me when we were doing the race and, you know, when you have an animal this size you want to be able to see how fast they swim and it’s tough to go into their territory and be able to switch as fast as they do, right?”

Phelps swam his leg, reportedly about 100 meters, with a monofin to increase his speed. Great whites can swim about five times as fast as Phelps, so he needed a boost.

That doesn’t mean Phelps didn’t have close encounters. He lay on the ocean floor and had a hammerhead swim within a foot of his face in his other Shark Week appearance on July 30.

In a Shark Week video clip (embedded below at the 30-second mark), a great white rattled a cage that contained Phelps. A full video of Phelps’ first cage dive with sharks is here.

“Her mouth kind of just clamped right down on one of the bars, but I basically sat down there for about an hour and just watched sharks just swim right past me,” he said.

Phelps may not be done with shark encounters. He told his wife about an ambition to free dive with a great white. No cage.

“She wasn’t too amused,” Phelps said on ESPN’s “Mike and Mike” radio show.

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