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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