As you may know Shark Week has begun and the HUGE event, was Michael Phelps racing a shark. As many of us pictured, we thought he was going to be racing side by side with an ACTUAL shark.
Phelps did not actually race a real shark for the show ― to the profound disappointment of many viewers ― but one thing was clear: 28 Olympic medals mean nothing when you’re competing against one of the fastest sharks on the planet.
For the 100-meter contest, which took place in the frigid waters off Mossel Bay in South Africa, Phelps wriggled into a 1-millimeter wetsuit and wore a mono-fin specially designed for the event.
For the final “face-off” with the great white, however, Phelps swam the 100-meter stretch alone, and images of a great white were displayed alongside him using CGI.
“Clearly, we can’t put Michael in one lane and a shark in the far lane,” said Dr. Tristan Guttridge, a shark expert involved in the show. “We have to do simulation. We’ll use our speed data that we’ve [collected] in all our testing.”
Phelps clocked a time of 38.1 seconds, two seconds slower than the CGI shark.
“Shark Week” fans who were lured by Discovery’s purposefully ambiguous promotion of the show felt gutted when it became clear that Phelps wouldn’t be swimming alongside the real deal. They vented their frustrations on Twitter on Sunday.