The most decorated Olympian ever is having an impact right here in the Wabash Valley.
Michael Phelps is looked up to by swimmers in Terre Haute, and he's helped increase the popularity of the sport.
NBC 2'S Paige Preusse takes us to the pool.
"I was watching and I was like this is really intense. this looks like fun. When he turned and got that gold medal I told my mom, sign me up for swimming, I really want to be a swimmer," said Nolan Roach.
Nolan Roach was only eleven at the time, now he's a record breaking high school swimmer. Terre Haute Torpedoes swim coach Jeff Thompson calls it the Phelps Effect, that's turning normal kids into fish.
"Swimming is a sport that's dying out a little bit in some high schools, but the Olympics really gets everyone pumped about swimming, and show them how great it really is," said Elizabeth McGlone a swimmer for the Torpedoes.
Following the 2008 Olympics in Bejing the Torpedos coach says he saw an immediate increase. Within a month they went from 130 athletes to about 250. He says USA swimming as a whole saw an 11 % increase, and they expect an even greater surge after this year's games.
"Some of those kids who thought about playing basketball to be the next Michael Jordan, now they're giving some thought and consideration to swimming and saying hey it's a cool thing to do too," said Thompson.
And it's not just more swimmers Thompson's seeing, it's more male swimmers.
But as the sports popularity grows, so does the competition.
"When I was fifteen I could make a state cut pretty easily. And in four years it has gone from a lot of people can do this, to not a lot many people get into this swim meet,"said Roach.
Thompson says he'd like to see rising Olympian Missy Franklin become the next star for the sport, and attract more female swimmers.
"The difference between a game and a sport is that a game has a ball. I think swimming is the most rigorous most demanding sport their is, but at the same time it's the most rewarding," said McGlone.
The Terre Haute Torpedoes practice at Terre Haute South.
For more information about the local team you can visit http://www.terrehautetorpedoes.com/Contact.jsp?team=istht