MICHAEL Phelps was born on June 30, 1985 to Fred and Debbie Phelps. His parents already had two daughters, Hilary and Whitney.
The family lived in Maryland, just outside of Baltimore.
Fred was a state trooper, and Debbie was a middle-school teacher who was twice named Maryland’s “Teacher of the Year.”
Fred was a good athlete, and passed his ability on to his kids. All three got into swimming at an early age. Hilary showed real promise, particularly in the butterfly, but eventually gave up the sport. Whitney stuck with it much longer. One of the better swimmers in her area, she tried out for the US Olympic team in 1996 at the age of 15.
Phelps was among those in attendance to cheer her on. When Whitney didn’t qualify, he was left devastated like the rest of the family. Ultimately, her career was cut short by a series of herniated disks.
Phelps learned a lot from his sisters, particularly the value of hard work.
Hilary started swimming the year he was born, and Michael spent many afternoons in a stroller watching her practise. He eventually followed both sisters into the pool, though initially with great hesitancy. As a seven-year-old, he refused to put his face in the water.
Sensing his fear, his instructors allowed him to float around on his back. No surprisingly, the first stroke he mastered was the backstroke. —— JockBio.com