Jaws-esque music introduces viewers to Michael Phelps, described as “like a shark” by the commentator of the 2007 FINA World Championships swimming coverage for Australian audiences.
While Phelps-shark comparisons have been made for years, including a “race” between the GOAT himself and a great white shark in 2017, Phelps’ domination at the 2007 World Championships in Melbourne was anything but unexpected. This draws a
shark stark contrast between the events that took place off the coast of Amity Island in the summer of 1975 in the Steven Spielberg blockbuster Jaws, a theme echoed by the background music played during the race videos, and the medal haul pulled in by Phelps in 2007.
Phelps set a total of 5 World Records, including 4 individual and 1 as part of a relay, at the 2007 FINA World Championships. Phelps’ triumphs included the 200 butterfly (1:52.09), the 200 IM (1:54.98), the 400 IM (4:06.22), and to the shock of the Australian home crowd, the 200 freestyle (1:43.86), erasing Ian Thorpe‘s 1:44.06, set at the 2001 FINA World Championships in Fukuoka.
On the relays side, Phelps and Team USA set the World Record in the 800 freestyle relay with a time of 7:03.24, with Phelps leading off in a 1:45.36. Though not as fast as his winning time in the individual 200, that lead-off leg still would have beaten 200 freestyle runner-up Pieter van den Hoogenband by nearly a second. Phelps and co. also set the Championship Record in the 400 freestyle relay with a time of 3:12.72, with Phelps contributing a 48.42 lead-off leg, which would have won gold in the individual men’s 100 freestyle by 0.01 over co-champions Brent Hayden of Canada and Filippo Magnini of Italy.
Though victorious in the men’s 100 butterfly with a time of 50.77, Phelps did not have the opportunity to chase another gold medal in the men’s 400 medley relay due to an early jump by prelims butterflyer Ian Crocker, who placed 2nd to Phelps in the individual 100 fly (50.82). Therefore, the Australian team would go on to claim the world title on home soil.
Phelps’ performance in Melbourne was a preview of what he would do at the 2008 Beijing Olympics where he won 8 gold medals and set 7 World Records, with his only non-World Record performance coming in the 100 butterfly on both occasions.