Michael Phelps will race a great white during TV’s Shark Week

Michael Phelps with his wife, Nicole Johnson, at a Lakers-Clippers game at Staples Center on March 21.
(Jae C. Hong / Associated Press)

Michael Phelps apparently has a lot of time on his hands, now that he’s not swimming competitively anymore.

The winner of an all-time high 28 Olympic medals will race against a great white shark during a TV special to help the Discovery Channel kick off its annual Shark Week on July 23.

“He is our greatest champion to ever get in the water,” the network said in a release, noting Phelps’ 39 world records and 23 Olympic gold medals. “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!”


So, does Phelps even stand a chance? It depends on how seriously the shark takes the race — really.

According to, the top speed for a great white is 25 mph, possibly with short bursts of 35 mph. But that’s in attack mode. The regular cruising speed for sharks in general is 5 mph.

Since Phelps was once clocked by ESPN swimming at 6 mph, the human actually might have a shot.

Twitter: @chewkiii