How Fast Can Sharks Swim?

A common question that pops in the thoughts of many people after watching shark videos and documentaries is how fast a shark can swim? Sharks are the top predators of the seas and oceans, they need to travel long distances to grasp the prey and kill it to feed on. Sharks are the fastest swimmers of the ocean, though, the speed of sharks depends on the species like the small sized sharks with streamlined bodies swim faster whereas the ones with heavy and bulky bodies move with slow speed.

Despite their speed and type of species, they normally swim alone in the ocean water with graceful movement because they know not many of the marine animals can harm them – apex hunters!

If you are thinking of having a swimming competition with sharks, you must know the speed of sharks first! Let’s drive in the shark empire to estimate the top speed of ocean brutes!

How Fast can Sharks Swim?

The top speed of the sharks on an average is about 5 mph (miles per hour) or 8 kph (kilometer per hour) – the speed is the same as the speed of the fastest swimmer of Olympics! If you are a good swimmer then you might beat them in a competition! However, some species of sharks are extremely fast swimmers that can swim up to the speed of 31 mph or 50 kph. But most frequently they are found roaming in the ocean water with a speed of 1.5 mph or 2.4 kph. When it comes to chasing a prey, the sharks can swim with an extremely high speed of 12 mph or 20 kph – the speed is equal to the speed of a person running on land.

Sharks adapt different hunting tactics to hunt the prey, these are similar to the strategies of land animals like lions, tigers, cheetah and snakes – sharks wait and locate the prey and then chase it by swimming at the fastest swimming speed! Habitat has a major impact on the speed of sharks, it has been noticed that the shark species living in the cold waters swims with sluggish speed whereas those living in the warm or temperate waters move with high speed! The size and shape of the sharks also matters here – the slender and small species floats with high speed because they are light weight whereas the hulking and large size species moves comparatively with slow speed!

Let’s go through the shark’s realm to highlight the species that have extremely fast swimming speed!

What are the Fastest Species of Shark?

In a race among the sharks, many species of sharks are driven to swim with an extremely high speed to chase the prey. The average speed of sharks ranges between 12 mph to 20 kph when they are in the mood for hunting. We have shortlisted some sharks that are the fastest species in the world! Here we go!

Top 5 Fastest Species of Sharks

Following species are considered as the fastest sharks all over the globe:

1: The Short-fin Mako Shark- The Mako sharks are listed top among the sharks for being the fastest swimmers of the ocean. The sharks can reach the top speed of 31 mph or 50 kph.

2: The Great White Shark- The top speed of great white sharks is up to 25 mph or 40 kph but when they chase a prey the speed reaches up to 35 mph or 56 kph – the speed is 9 times greater than the average speed of human swimmers.

3: The Bull Shark- It has been reported that the Bull sharks are ranked 3rd in the list with a maximum speed of 25 mph or 40.2 kph.

4: The Blue Shark- The maximum speed of Bull sharks have been recorded up to 24.5 mph or 39.4 kph.

5: The Tiger Shark- This shark’s species are categorized 5th in the list of fastest swimmers with a maximum swimming speed of 20 mph or 32 kph.

Final words

The speed of sharks varies from species to species. On an average the sharks move with the speed of 5 mph or 8 kph and wander in the ocean water with 1.5 mph or 2.4 kph speed! But when it comes to hunting a prey, the speed automatically increases – the fastest shark’s species can swim at a speed of 31 mph or 50 kph! If you think you are an excellent swimmer then why don’t you have a competition with them!

About the author


I am a Scholar and a dedicated content writer. I am on a mission to stamp out the importance of one of the ocean's most fascinating and remarkable creatures, the sharks, and to let people know about their role in keeping the ecosystem in equilibrium.