It took some assistance from modern technology, but now we have an answer to the burning question, "Is Michael Phelps faster than a Great White Shark?"
The 23-time Olympic gold medalist opened Discovery Channel's 29th edition of Shark Week with Sunday night's Phelps vs. Shark: Great Gold vs. Great White in which he raced the dangerous predator...sort of. For his safety, Phelps actually swam alone and the shark was digitally added in the side-by-side battle later on. As expected, he lost the race, but only by two seconds. Considering sharks can reach speeds upwards of 25 mph, that's not bad.
The race itself was tricky to put together since sharks don't actually swim in a straight line, nor do they usually charge forward at full speed for extended periods of time just for kicks. To get around that, scientists used a decoy seal to lure the creature in a somewhat straight line so that they could measure its velocity.
Phelps also had some help for the race. In order to increase his speed, he was given a thin wetsuit modeled after the shark's skin along with a monofin for his feet. Despite reaching a top speed of 5 mph in the freezing water, he will still no match for the Great White.
Though defeated, he still says he's up for another race. "Rematch? Next time..warmer water," he wrote on Twitter. Hey, we're down to watch a second race if you are.