Ross Edgley is Swimming Against Sharks for New Documentary

Ross Edgley Is Swimming Against Sharks For New Documentary

Ross Edgley is Against Sharks for New Documentary

Swimming with Sharks: Ross Edgley’s New Documentary

By vkim on 2024-06-26 11:47:44

Ross Edgley Is Swimming Against Sharks For New Documentary

Ultra-marathon runner, swimmer, and shark fan, Ross Edgley pits his mind and body against the most formidable predators of the ocean in an exciting new documentary, testing the limits of his speed, strength, hydrodynamics and endurance all in an epic effort made with the purpose of understanding how these amazing animals thrive. Now back on dry land, for the time being at least, Edgley sat down with M&F to discuss this latest extreme challenge and what he's learned from the experience in this non-spoiler interview ahead of Shark vs. Ross Edgley.

Ross Edgley is no stranger to pushing himself beyond his limits. The elite athlete from Grantham, Lincolnshire, England, holds multiple world records and became the fastest person ever to swim 900 miles (1,400km), doing so in just 62 days. He's ran a marathon pulling a car, did a triathlon carrying part of a tree weighing 100 pounds (45kg), and completed the world's longest staged seas swim with 1,780 miles (2,860 kilometers). A life changing event would occur on that swim, however, as Edgley recalls seeing a huge fin “slicing” towards him as he went eye-to-eye with a basking shark. Edgley's new companion then stuck with him for a day and a half, igniting a curiosity to learn more about his new friend and other types of shark.

Why is Ross Edgley Pitting himself against sharks?

“You kind of run out of examples and answers in the realms of conventional sports science, so you have to look elsewhere,” Edgley tells M&F, explaining that he is on a constant mission to improve his own physical performance even if that means looking to other species for clues. “So, sleep deprivation for instance. When I've been swimming for, like, 48 hours, 72 hours, that doesn't exist in conventional sport, so again, I was speaking to shark experts who explained ‘well sharks don't really sleep how we understand sleep.' So, I was like ‘whoa.' I suppose it was this really, that sent me down the rabbit hole of looking at the animal kingdom and specifically sharks for answers in sports science.”

Edgley is the very embodiment of what an inspirational athlete should look like, and is far more excited about the challenge or the mechanics of a task than he is about winning it. “It's definitely sort of void of ego,” he says of taking on sharks, explaining that he didn't go into the documentary expecting to win, but rather to see how close he could compete. “By bio-mimicking them, we can investigate them just a little bit more.” Shark vs. Ross Edgley is one of the highlights of National Geographic's Shark Fest 2024 offering, and will be part of an incredible 26 hours of shark related programming about these wonders of the water. To learn more about these incredible creatures, Edgley will be seen attempting to:

  • Polaris Jump out of the water like a white shark
  • Swim as fast as a mako shark
  • Eat as much as a tiger shark
  • Endure the same G-force as a hammerhead when turning

“If you need someone to be a Guinea pig, sports science experiment, and make a spectacle of themselves, I was like ‘that is me,'” laughs Edgley, regarding literally being thrown in at the deep end.

What did Ross Edgley learn about sharks?

Approaching these challenges just like any other, Edgley consulted with experts, such as those at Loughborough University, who put his body into a 3D scanner to compare his hydro-dynamics compared to those of a mako sharks. Makos are the fastest sharks in the world reaching speeds of 80 miles per hour (129km/h). While Edgley's impressive muscle mass takes up 45% of his body, sharks boast a whopping 65% muscle. Their skeletons are more streamlined and they have more flexible cartilage, propelled by the giant force generated by their tails.

“And when I was diving with the sharks as well, certainly the white sharks of Australia, they were just looking at me like ‘what is this naked ape doing down here? He's terrible in the water,” laughs Edgley.

The whole experience has encouraged Edgley to work on his own in order to become more like a shark for swimming. “I cut a lot of weight, just to try to me ‘more mako,'” he shares. “It's so strange, that so often I say; ‘sharks taught me how to swim,' but that's basically what I mean by it.”

To simulate the G-force generated a hammerhead, Edgley was taken into the skies by renowned RAF fighter pilot Mark Greenfield despite being an acute sufferer of motion sickness. “Honestly, at 2 or 3 g's, I was like … I'm gonna decorate his plane with my breakfast,” laughs the intrepid athlete. Hammerheads easily reach 15 feet (4.6m) plus in size, and they turn when they hunt, generating enormous force. Edgley found himself rolling in the aircraft to try and replicate the action.

While a shark can hit 3g's swimmingly, Edgley was reaching for the sick bag to try and keep up. In addition to hoping that learning about sharks will help him to become a better athlete, Edgley also hopes that highlighting these captivating creatures will also encourage the rest of us to respect and protect the environment that this declining population inhabits. As for who came out on top? You'll have to dive into Shark vs. Ross on Sunday, June 30 on National Geographic TV and Disney+.

Follow Ross Edgley on Instagram. 

Hashtags: #Ross #Edgley #Swimming #Sharks #Documentary

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