Olympic Swimmer Michael Phelps to Race Against Great White Shark on 'Shark Week'

Thomas DuffyFeatured ColumnistJune 16, 2017

US swimming champion Michael Phelps poses during a photo session at the Molitor swimming pool on February 16, 2017 in Paris. / AFP / LIONEL BONAVENTURE        (Photo credit should read LIONEL BONAVENTURE/AFP/Getty Images)
LIONEL BONAVENTURE/Getty Images

Olympic legend Michael Phelps is the greatest we've ever seen in the water.

Well, for a human.

According to a press release from Discovery Channel, Phelps will race a great white shark as part of Shark Week on July 23:

"They are one of the fastest and most efficient predators on the planet: Sharks. He is our greatest champion to ever get in the water: Michael Phelps. 39 world records. 23 Olympic golds. But he has one competition left to win. An event so monumental no one has ever attempted it before. The world’s most decorated athlete takes on the ocean’s most efficient predator: Phelps V Shark – the race is on!"

Phelps is going to have his hands full.

According to Jennifer Kennedy of ThoughtCo.com, sharks cruise at around 5 mph, but great whites can reach north of 25 mph if they're in attack-mode.

"Their swimming speed is 10 times faster than the typical human swimmer," Kennedy wrote.

Phelps is no typical human; in 2010, near the height of his powers, Phelps was clocked at 6 mph by ESPN.com. The distance and the shark's state of mind will certainly play a role in the race.

The 31-year-old went cage diving with some great whites last weekend, perhaps scouting out his competition:

Phelps will also take part in another Shark Week project, Shark School, which will "dispel the myths and common misconceptions" about the beasts.

That puts Phelps on the first and last days of Shark Week.

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