It is Shark Week over on the Discovery Channel, so there’s a lot of shark talk going on. One of the biggest stories from the week has been Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps’ race against a great white shark. It has been hyped up in the weeks leading up to Shark Week, and over the weekend, we finally witnessed the race for ourselves. Unfortunately, the race wasn’t real at all.
Upon first inspection, the race looks a bit staged but seemingly plausible if the shark was filmed separately and then digitally added later to create the great spectacle. But even that proved to be wrong and it instead was a digital simulation of a shark based on scientific data.
That’s very disappointing.
The race was a 100m course in the ocean. Phelps completed the race in 38.1 seconds while the simulated shark completed it in 36.1 seconds, beating out the 23-time gold medal winning Olympian by two seconds.
It’s not surprising that the producers featured a simulated shark rather than a real shark in the race. This was done for safety reasons as well as the fact that there’s no way to truly control a shark to swim 100m in a straight line. But still, it would have been really awesome if they somehow figured it all out and Michael Phelps did actually race a real great white shark.
Either way, the idea is pretty neat and even the video is cool too. You can watch it down below.