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Michael Phelps 'hated the water' when he was a kid

There was once a time well before he became an Olympic great when Michael Phelps couldn't stand getting in a pool.
/ Source: TODAY

Michael Phelps' journey to Olympic greatness nearly ended well before it began because of an issue that tends to be important when you're a swimmer.

"It’s wild to kind of think about how far we’ve come,'' he said in an interview with ESPN. "From my mom putting me in the water safety — I hated the water. I didn’t want anything to do with it. I learned on my back.”

Twenty-eight Olympic medals later, 23 of them gold, and it appears Phelps got over it.

It also looks like his infant son, Boomer, has a leg up on dad when it comes to feeling right at home with the aquatic life.

After winning five gold medals in Rio de Janeiro, Phelps, 31, has eased into retirement by spending some fun time in the pool with Boomer and fiancee Nicole Johnson.

The little man appears to be taking to the water quite well. Of course, it helps to learn from the best.

Boomer nearly stole the spotlight from Phelps during his time in Rio, taking the gold as the most adorable sports baby of the Games. He even has his own Instagram account full of adorable photos.

Now that Phelps claims he is officially retired from an Olympic career that started when he was 15 years old, someone else will have to fill the immense void.

Phelps added in his interview with ESPN that he would like to be a coach helping other swimmers realize their Olympic dreams.

Looks like he has a ready and willing student. We look forward to seeing Boomer dominate the competition in the 2044 Games.

Follow writer Scott Stump on Twitter.