Three-dimensional fully unsteady computational fluid dynamic simulations of five Olympic-level swimmers performing the underwater dolphin kick are used to estimate the swimmer’s propulsive efficiencies. These estimates are compared with those of a cetacean performing the dolphin kick. The geometries of the swimmers and the cetacean are based on laser and CT scans, respectively, and the stroke kinematics is based on underwater video footage. The simulations indicate that the propulsive efficiency for human swimmers varies over a relatively wide range from about 11% to 29%. The efficiency of the cetacean is found to be about 56%, which is significantly higher than the human swimmers. The computed efficiency is found not to correlate with either the slender body theory or with the Strouhal number.