Michael Phelps meets his match: Most decorated Olympian loses race against 'great white shark'

Washington: Michael Phelps has finally met his match in the water: a "great white shark".

The Olympic champion swimmer was bettered on Sunday night in the Discovery Channel's Shark Week special "Phelps vs Shark: Great Gold vs Great White."

A screenshot of Michael Phelps swimming against the CGI shark.

A screenshot of Michael Phelps swimming against the CGI shark.

However, Phelps' race against a great white shark wasn't exactly what the viewers had expected. Most people were disappointed to find out that the man who has won 28 Olympic medals swam against a virtual version of a shark.

He competed in the ocean against a computer-simulated fish, whose speed was based on data collected by scientists.

Phelps was outfitted with a wetsuit and a monofin to mimic a shark's powerful tail. He finished the 100metre race in 38 seconds, two seconds slower than the simulated shark.

Phelps tweeted on Sunday that he'd like a rematch, but in warmer water.

The channel had hyped the stunt as “the battle for ocean supremacy”, but had not indicated that Phelps wouldn't actually be swimming with one of the most feared aquatic animals. They had implied that Phelps was going to undergo some state-of-the-art transformations to stand a shot at beating the shark in a race.

The American swimmer is one of the best athletes in the world, having won 23 Olympic golds in his swimming career. He is the world-record holder for 100m and 200m butterfly as well as 400m individual medley.

The popular American TV channel has been hosting "Shark Week" since 1988 to raise awareness about shark attacks and conservation.

Take a look at the race below.

Of course, once people discovered that Phelps wasn't getting in the water with a real shark, and was just swimming against a CGI version, they took to Twitter to express their disappointment.

Phelps could be consoled by the fact that he was more successful in a 50m practice run against a reef shark, which he completed in just 18.9 seconds.

With inputs from AP

Updated Date: Jul 26, 2017 13:02 PM

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