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The Fastest Water Animal Alive

Marie Discusses the Fastest Fish on Earth
by The Greensheet in Paws and Claws on July 06, 2012
Jumping Sailfish, also known as Marlin

Dear Marie,

I have a bet going with a buddy of mine and I was hoping you could settle it:

What’s the fastest water animal?  I’m thinking it’s the shark.

With great appreciation,

Deep Sea Sam

Dear Sam,

I think Google would have gotten you a faster answer than a letter to me ever could. Nevertheless…

The fastest water animal is the Sailfish, also known as the Marlin, which can swim at a record speed of 68 mph.  The more interesting question is: why our fascination with speed?   

Olympic medalist Frederick Bousquet, the fastest human in water, swam at a maximum speed of 5.34 mph for a few seconds. Michael Phelps’s maximum speed reached about 4.7 miles. Top long distance swimmers might hope to swim at a speed of about 3.8 mph. Most of us would be very lucky to swim at about 1 mph, just a bit better than tortoises.

By comparison, the American eel can swim at a gingerly 2.4 mph all day long.  Even the lowly Pike can outswim any of us at 3.7 mph.

We fare no better on land. While the Cheetah averages a speed of 70 mph, the fastest human sprinters can only hope to sustain a maximum speed of 50-60 mph for a few seconds. Usain Bolt, the fastest long-distance runner can sustain a speed of 23.2 mph. Most people can walk at an average speed of about 3mph, far slower than their dogs.

Face it: as a species, we are just a notch above slugs. If you want speed, buy a car. Or at least a horse.

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nicholas
actually the fasest animal is a cheetah