9 Years After Almost Deciding to End His Life, Michael Phelps Receives a Grand Salute From Jim ‘The Shark’ Dreyer

Published 09/27/2023, 12:39 PM EDT

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Michael Phelps is a legendary Olympian. He is by far the most decorated athlete in Olympic history, with a total of 23 gold medals throughout his glorious career. However, with his many successes, the swimmer has also had to endure a difficult spell of mental health. In fact, he himself has admitted that he used to suffer meltdowns behind closed doors and even contemplated suicide in 2014, after isolating himself for four days in a bedroom. Despite that, another champion swimmer has all the praise for Phelps. He is none other than Jim ‘The Shark’ Dreyer.

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Jim Dreyer is a legendary swimmer himself. An icon of open-water swimming, Dreyer holds a number of breathtaking records under his name. He is the first person to set swimming records across all five Great Lakes. In an exclusive interview with EssentiallySports, The Shark openly praised Phelps for using his platform to spread an important message.

Jim ‘The Shark’ Dreyer salutes Michael Phelps

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During the exclusive interview with EssentiallySports, Jim Dreyer said that despite never meeting each other, the two have commented on each other respectfully. The Shark also highlighted that while he was setting new records in open-water swimming, Phelps was clinching gold medals in the pool. Dreyer also mentioned that despite both of them being swimmers, their disciplines are quite different and he was very “flattered” when Phelps himself admitted that what Dreyer does is different from what he does.

The open-water swimmer vociferously admired how Phelps has come forward and used his platform by opening up about his mental health struggles. He said during the exclusive interview with EssentiallySports, “I really really admire that because he is in a position where he has an audience and that’s a very, very important message that he’s putting out there. So yeah, salute, salute to Mr. Phelps.” EssentiallySports had asked Dreyer who would win if he and Phelps had a swimming competition. To this, the Shark replied with a calculated guess.

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The Shark’s take on Dreyer vs. Phelps

Both Jim Dreyer and Michael Phelps are legends of their respective sport. While both of them are swimmers, their sports are quite different and require several skills. Dreyer told to EssentiallySports, “Oh he’s gonna kick my bu** in the pool,” as he referred to Phelps. He further said that when it comes to speed, he is an “average swimmer” while Phelps is a “rocket” and in a swimming pool he will be easily bested by Phelps. However, if they swim across a lake, according to Dreyer, Phelps will swim faster, but over time he will catch the Olympian and eventually pass him.

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Jim Dreyer’s words of appreciation for Michael Phelps are truly endearing and reflect his mutual respect for the most decorated Olympian in history. The swimming world may never get to witness a race against these two giants of their sport. However, it would have surely proved to be an epic battle between two talented swimmers.

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Watch this story: “It Was Insane”: Swimming Legend Michael Phelps Proclaims the “Best Relay Race of All Time” While Getting Nostalgia

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Written by:

Vaibhav Singh Bisht

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Vaibhav Singh Bisht is an Olympics sports writer for EssentiallySports. He holds a Masters degree in Mass Communication with a specialization in Advertising and Corporate Communication. Vaibhav has experience working in the Public Relations industry previously.
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Edited by:

BHUJAYA RAY CHOWDHURY

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