Michael Phelps Races Shark And the Winner is ...

7/23/2017 6:07 PM PDT

Michael Phelps vs. Shark has a Winner

Gold medal winning Olympian Michael Phelps took on a great white shark ... and now we know who truly reigns supreme in the water ... sort of.

THE SHARK WINS!!!

Phelps kicked off Shark Week 2017 on Discovery Channel with a primetime special, "Phelps vs. Shark: Great Gold vs. Great White" after weeks of anticipation for the man-against-beast event. The 100-meter open water "race" took place in Cape Town, South Africa ... but many fans are unhappy about what actually qualified as a race.

Most people thought Phelps didn't stand a chance considering his top swim speed is about 6 mph and great whites can reach speeds up to 25 mph ... but his team helped him even the playing field with a shark skin-like wetsuit and a monofin to emulate a shark's tail.

Turns out ... it didn't matter. Phelps lost the SIMULATED race to a great white shark by 2 seconds.

So ... Ryan Lochte was right?