But one other surprising thing about the swimmer is that he is Latino.
His mother was born in Cuba and married his father who is from the United States.
His mother said it was her parents dream to move to the United States and she is so proud her son is on the American team.
“When he won the gold medal, the individual gold medal, and all I could think about what was my parents went through and how he’s there representing the United States, and my parents wanted us to be there so badly, to be in the United States,” she told NBC Miami. “And to see him up there with the American flag, it was great.”
The Cuban-American lost some of his subsequent team races and he won't beat Phelps' Olympic record.
But the swimmer is a gold medal winner in this summer's London Olympics and his mother is certain to be proud of that.