Americans have been fascinated by sharks for years. It is easy to see why people across the globe get extremely excited each summer for Discovery Channel’s annual tradition of Shark Week.
Shark Week is a chance for people to learn more about one of the greatest predators in the world while Discovery Channel plays awesome shows about sharks. Each year the producers at Discovery try to come up with a bigger and better segment.
For viewers this year, the opening act of Shark Week 2017 had people excited for months! On Sunday night it finally aired.
Michael Phelps, the world’s most decorated Olympian and the greatest swimmer of all time, took to the water to race a shark! Most people had no idea how it was even going to be accomplished!
Through a series of timed images, the scientists at Discovery were able to clock the sprinting speed of different kinds of sharks. While most sharks are extremely fast swimmers, they usually don’t have the endurance to go far distances.
Michael Phelps wore a special suit to simulate shark skin when he took the water. He also wore special flippers that resembled a shark tail. The technology allowed him to best his own personal records and swim faster than any human ever.
However, when they compared Michael’s swimming to a Great White shark's, it was discovered that a Great White was actually 2 seconds faster than Phelps over the distance of 100 meters. Still, it was an extremely close race!
Some people were a bit upset on social media that the race wasn’t in a pool with a real shark. However, there was no way the team at Discovery could have protected Phelps from harm.
By using multiple cameras and then editing the footage together, crews were able to get a perfect look at what would happen if Phelps really swam against a shark in the ocean. This was truly amazing! Did you think the race would be that close?