Swimming FAQs

How Fast Can a Shark Swim?

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Sharks are designed to attack their prey, just like lions and tigers on land. They need to swim fast enough to hunt down prey over short distances and then lunge to kill. How fast can sharks swim? The speed of sharks also depends on the species. Smaller streamlined sharks are faster than larger sharks.

Swimming Speed of the Average Shark

A general rule of thumb is that great whites cruise at about 5 miles (8 kilometers) per hour, which is the speed of the fastest Olympic swimmers. If you’re just a good swimmer, they’ll beat you. But they often swim at a slower speed of about 1.5 mph (2.4 km/h). But sharks can swim faster when attacking, about 12 mph or 20 km/h, about the speed of a human running on land. You can’t swim fast enough, you need a boat, jet ski, or some other equipment. On Guadalupe, white sharks often ambush elephant seals at breakneck speed.

Factors That Affect Shark Swimming Speed

In fact, sharks are born for sudden bursts of speed when attacking their prey. On land, this is equivalent to the hunting strategy of animals such as cheetahs, tigers, lions, and some snakes. This size allows them to wait and ambush like a Wobugon, or swim fast enough to chase fleeing prey.

Another thing is the environment they have adapted to. It appears that sharks living in icy water generally swim slower than sharks living in warm or temperate waters.

Of course, the size and shape of the species discussed here are also important. Slender and streamlined sharks move several times faster than larger sharks.

How Fast A White Shark Swims In MPH?

How Fast A White Shark Swims
Great White Shark Bahamas Credit: Getty

Of all shark species, the great white shark (Carcharodon carcharias) has a top swimming speed of 25 miles (40 kilometers) per hour. Sharks also have short burst speeds of about 35 miles (56 kilometers) per hour, which is much faster than human swimming. These sharks love to hunt the humans of the world. Great white sharks are very intelligent hunters and swimmers because they swim very slowly in order to spot their prey. At times, these white sharks attack human swimmers and photographers who try to capture them.

Scientists say that white sharks also have blood vessels and that white sharks are not completely cold-blooded compared to mako sharks. They are mainly known for their hunting skills as they capture their prey through clever and sudden movements. There was one blue shark that had nearly the same speed, swimming at about 17.7 mph (28.4 km/h) and known to make brief bursts at 43 mph (69.2 km/h).

How Fast A Tiger Shark Swims In MPH?

How Fast A Tiger Shark Swims

Tiger sharks swim at about 20 miles (32 kilometers) per hour in the ocean. They are also good hunters because they have sharp teeth and long fins that provide lift when moving through the water. The long upper tail performs the task of providing burst speed. The initial speed of sharks depends on the size of their fins and tails, as well as their desire for prey, as they are also master swimmers compared to other species of sharks.

They have smooth bodies. The carnivorous diet of these sharks includes fish and other marine animals. They are also large carnivores in the water with a length of 16.40 feet (5 meters). They live mainly around islands in the central Pacific Ocean and get their name from their body shape, as they have a tiger-like dark lining. Mostly nocturnal hunters, these sharks are able to eat the waste that humans produce in the water. Still, they are dangerous to humans because they can reach fast swimming speeds and can easily chase and injure humans if they sense your presence or you start harassing them in the water.

How Fast A Mako Shark Swims In MPH?

How Fast A Mako Shark Swims

The shortfin mako shark is the fastest shark in the ocean. They are streamlined sharks that swim at 60 miles per hour (96.5 kilometers), making them one of the fastest shark species. Mako sharks can swim and even make giant jumps up to 20 feet (6 meters) in the water. According to some researchers in New Zealand, shortfin mako sharks can swim 0-100 feet (0-30.4 meters) in seconds.

How Fast A Hammerhead Shark Swims In MPH?

How Fast A Hammerhead Shark Swims

Hammerhead sharks are also fast swimmers. These sharks can swim at speeds of up to 24.6 mph (39.5 km/h), but they are relatively small compared to other sharks, making them less dangerous and less harmful to humans. However, their ferocity makes them quite dangerous, as the people who videotaped them for research purposes recorded some of the events. If you try to get close to any sharks, such as when fishing, be aware that they may overtake your boat. Most of these sharks were found near shore at a surface depth of 1 meter (3.3 feet). They can also swim at a depth of 80 meters (260 feet) offshore.


A question many people often ask is how fast sharks swim.

They are marine animals, but they attack their prey like other animals on land. Therefore, even in the water, they need to swim very fast to catch their prey.

There are different species of sharks such as great white sharks, mako sharks, tiger shark, and hammerhead shark, all of which have their own swimming speed. Sharks are carnivores that swim at 12 miles (20 kilometers) per hour, attacking their prey. Shortfin makos are the fastest swimming sharks at 31 miles (50 kilometers) per hour, and they can increase their speed to 60 miles (96.5 kilometers) per hour.