Ever wonder how fast Michael Phelps swims in MPH? What about the fastest swimmer in the world?
It’s actually quite easy to figure out the average speed of a swimmer in miles per hour. Let’s walk through it below and determine Phelps’s speed and the fastest swimmer’s speed in miles per hour.
Competitive Swimming 101
If you’re a competitive swimmer, feel free to skip this section. Otherwise, read on for a quick competitive swimming briefer.
First of all, the fastest stroke in swimming is freestyle and fastest race in swimming is the men’s 50 meter freestyle.
Secondly, in international competitive swimming, there are two different types of pools—short course meters and long course meters. Long course meter pools are used at the Olympics and are 50 meters in length. Short course meter pools are used at many international swim meets and are 25 meters in length.
Since swimmers are able to exploded off of twice as many walls in short course meter pools, the fastest swimming times are usually achieved in short course pools. That’s why we’ll only be looking at swimming races from short course meter pools in this analysis.
How Fast Does Michael Phelps Swim?
Michael Phelps swam his fastest 100 meter freestyle at an average pace of 4.76 mph. Here’s how we arrived at this number.
Since Michael Phelps didn’t usually compete in the 50 meter freestyle (which is the fastest race), we have to look at his fastest 100 meter freestyle. Phelps’s fastest 100 meter freestyle in a short course pool was 46.99 seconds in Manchester on December 18, 2009. This equates to 4.76 mph.
However, Michael Phelps is not the fastest 100 freestyler. That honor goes to Amaury Leveaux of France. Amaury set the world record for the fastest 100 meter freestyle on December 13, 2008 in Rijeka, Croatia with a time of 44.94. This means the fastest 100 meter freestyle in short course meters was swam at an average pace of 4.98 mph.
The Fastest Swimmer in MPH
As of January 2019, the world record for the 50 meter freestyle is held by Florent Manaudou of France with a time of 20.26 seconds. Florent set this world record in Doha, Qatar on December 5, 2014.
When we convert the world record time of 20.26 seconds for the 50 meter freestyle to miles per hour, we arrive at a relatively staggering average pace of 5.52 mph.
Now 5.52 miles per hour may not seem too fast to you, but in the world of swimming, this pace is really, really fast.
Love competitive swimming as much as I do? Check out some of my other swimming blog posts here.