The Fastest Water Animal Alive
Marie Discusses the Fastest Fish on Earth
Paws and Claws
July 06, 2012
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
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.