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Video: Michael Phelps faces off against Great White Shark in one-on-one race, Twitter goes crazy

Olympics Day 8 - Swimming
Michael Phelps is considered the greatest swimmer in the history of the sport
Modified 25 Jul 2017, 14:57 IST

The greatest Olympian of all time, swimmer Michael Phelps took up a new challenge earlier on Monday. A change from the mainstream competitions, Phelps raced the ocean’s most fearsome predator, a Great White Shark for the first time ever.

The Olympic gold medalist was seen swimming side-by-side with the shark as Phelps and the Great White each took turns to finish the 100m race course. However, much to the disappointment of the viewers, that actually didn’t happen.

The researchers from the Discovery Channel who were present revealed that they first recorded the time of the shark, and then of the 32-year swimming powerhouse. The race was taped for the Sunday night episode of Shark Week program on Discovery. The episode which was titled “Phelps vs. Shark: Great Gold vs. Great White” took place of the waters off the coast of South Africa.

Even the legendary swimmer tweeted after the battle:

Ecologist Tristan Gutteridge, one the featured scientists on the show was quoted as saying by Washington Post, “Clearly, we can’t put Michael in one lane and a white shark in the far lane. We’re gonna have to do a simulation.”

During Phelps’ run, the producers of the show superimposed an image of the shark on the other side of him to give the viewers the appearance of an actual, head-to-head swimming race. To assure safety, the channel had placed numerous divers around Phelps to keep an eye on the predators.

The 32-year-old used a monofin and one millimetre-thick wet suit to help him in the frigid 11C waters. The race, however, ended dramatically with the Great white eclipsing the Olympian by just two seconds. The shark managed to swim the length of the ocean course in 36.1 seconds, while the Olympian did it in 38.1.

Experts on the show describe how the Olympic superhero actually stood a chance against the genetically designed faster species. Great Whites are capable of swimming up to 40km, while the fastest man under water has a top speed of 10km/hr.

You can watch the race here:


However, despite the heroic race by Phelps, the decision to use simulation didn’t sit well with viewers. The Twitterati went crazy calling it a scam after the channel shot his race with a simulation of a shark, instead of the real thing.

Here are some of the hilarious reactions:

Published 25 Jul 2017, 13:38 IST
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