Normally sharks swim at a speed of less than 5 kph but few species such as mako sharks are able to cruise at a speed of 48 kph. Makos are the world’s fastest swimmers. They are agile hunters; built for the speed and chasing prey. Their body is thickest at the center and narrow at the ends. Makos swim in open waters.
The shark’s fins allow it to steer, swim, and even put a brake. The body is kept in an upright position because of these fins. They also possess the ability to raise their body temperature while swimming.
How Fast can Sharks Swim?
Whale sharks are slow swimmers and their top speed is no more than 5 miles (8 kilometers per hour) probably due to the fact that whale shark is the biggest fish in the world. It reaches a length of 40 ft (12 m) and weighs up to 13 tons (12 metric tons).
Great white sharks are one of the fast movers in water. They are able to reach speeds of 25 miles per hour (40 km/h). They swim just below the water’s surface. The white shark’s body is built for the speed and its swift-moving ability makes it even more lethal killing machine. White sharks are also amazing hunters as they can leap out of water to catch their prey.
Blue sharks and great white sharks are dynamic hunters in that they rely on their speed while hunting. At times they overtake other fast-swimming animals such as tuna or seal. These sharks have got an amazing ability to raise their temperature a bit and that is why they are adept to great bursts of speed. The rise in body temperature makes the fish rather faster and stronger than before.
Blue sharks can also jump out of water. They cruise at slow speeds near the surface but are nevertheless capable of short swift of speed. Blue sharks migrate seasonally. Thresher sharks are also fast movers and they are also capable of breaching.
Like mackerel sharks, thresher sharks also leap out of water. They cruise at a speed of 2.3 mph (2 knots) close to the surface with their mouths being opened almost all the time for feeding. They migrate many times and sharks may swim in tandem.
Swimming is vital for buoyancy which is the reason why sharks have a fusiform body (round and tapering). It allows sharks to swim with minimum effort as the fusiform shape reduces unnecessary drag.
The shark’s upper lobe is bigger than the shark’s lower lobe and as a result of which it pushes shark downwards and forwards while swimming.
Swimming in the sea is believed to be much harder than simply walking on land. Probably not for shark! Shark’s body is made up of muscles connected to its spine. Its streamlined body facilitates the shark to swim smoothly.