Michael Phelps has told the Olympic Channel he won’t pressure his two sons into swimming careers, even though he admits Boomer is already turning into a “pool rat”.
His eldest son is already showing signs that he’s inherited his dad’s amphibian-like genes, with his aquatic adventures well-documented on Instagram.
Phelps is the most decorated Olympian of all time, boasting 28 medals.
The 23-time gold-medal-winning American has clearly been enjoying introducing his boys to the pool
“It’s fun for a dad watching Boomer really be relaxed in the water but also be able to kick”, Phelps enthused in an exclusive interview with Olympic Channel.
“With Booms in the water as much as he is, he’s definitely turning into a little pool rat, like I once was,”
—Phelps to Olympic Channel.
“It’s pretty wild; Boomer will basically mimic butterfly, ask me to do it, and then go sit down and absolutely go crazy when I swim." Phelps added.
Phelps insists he and his wife, Nicole, won’t push two-year-old Boomer or seven-month-old Beckett to take up his mantel in the pool.
The 33-year-old said: “If he [Boomer] chooses to swim that’s his choice: I will never, ever, ever pressure either one of my kids to do something they don’t want to do... All I want to see is two kids very happy, and if we can have that, that’s all that matters."
Even Beckett, who was born in February this year, has been getting in on the action, though Phelps says it’s been a slower process than with Boomer.
“Beckett is not as a big fan of cold water as his brother is so we’ve been taking it a little slower for him getting in but he’s come to really enjoy being in the water as of late, so it’s been a treat for me to be able to have the family in there.”
The relationship between Phelps’ family and water doesn’t end in the pool, as the Olympian is a global ambassador for Colgate’s #EveryDropCounts campaign.
Environmentally-conscious Phelps is enjoying the chance to pass on good habits to his children.
He said: “This is something that Nicole and I have practised for a very long time but now the importance of passing this along to our kids is something that Nicole and I ourselves, we believe so strongly in."
“For water especially, we’ve been extremely fortunate and almost kind of taken for granted that we have the opportunity to have clean water so for us to be able to spread the importance of…just turning the faucet [tap] off when you’re brushing your teeth, trying not to take, you know, 30-minute showers or 20-minute showers, all of these little tiny ways that you can make a significant impact in changing the world.”
Phelps admits if he were being “greedy” and were to choose a sporting career for his sons it would be on the golf course rather than in the pool.
He said: “If I was a greedy dad and I wanted to pick a sport for my son, either one of them, I would say I would like to see them on the leader board at the Masters or a Sunday of major because [I’m], like, a die-hard golfer so for me that would just be unbelievable.”
Though he has no intention of pressuring his sons, Phelps could be the one feeling the heat very soon, when his eldest realises that he won’t be able to cheer on dad at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.
After ending his career on a high with a six-medal haul at Rio 2016, including five golds, Phelps has always maintained that he won’t be tempted back into the pool for the upcoming Games.
But he could have trouble explaining that to Boomer.
“I guess I’m in the process of trying to figure out what I’m going to tell him when he asks me why I’m not swimming in the next Olympics,” said Phelps.
“I think I have to have an answer ready because I’ve got a feeling he’s definitely going to fire that question at me.”
Phelps says he might have been drawn by the prospect of an Olympic Games on home soil, but that won’t be the case until LA 2028.
“I always said if I ever had the chance to swim in my country when I was still kind of around I would do it,” he said.
“But the Olympics will be in the US and I’ll be 40 so I don’t really see that being something that I’d like to do then.
He added: “I’m sure I’ll be hammered by that point by my other son as well, so I’ll have to be doubly prepared to give out the answer.”