Michael Phelps gets up close to massive sharks before race

Olympic champion to race great white for Shark Week

Updated: 


Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps is preparing to race a great white shark on Sunday 23 July for this year's Shark Week and in his terrifying pre-race training, the 32-year-old got up close to one of the predators in a cage dive and swam in open water with a 13-ft hammerhead shark.

SEE ALSO: Michael Phelps to race a great white shark

SEE ALSO: Great white shark jumps into fisherman's boat

The Olympic medal winner travelled to South Africa to adapt to the freezing ocean temperatures.

In a video of his cage dive, the sports star was seen locked in the cage as the shark charges towards him.

"It's been on my bucket list for years and years," Phelps said in the latest issue of PEOPLE. "As soon as I got down there and saw the fin for the first time, I knew I was going to love it."

Before this, Phelps travelled with his wife Nicole and the Discovery channel to the Bahamas where he got an "intro to sharks" by swimming in open water with a huge hammerhead.

"At one point she was just 12 inches from my face," he said. "It was amazing!"

Phelps vs Shark: Great Gold vs Great White airs Sunday at 8pm ET.

Sharks and more: Amazing pics of ocean life

Sharks and more: Amazing pics of ocean life