Nathan Adrian sets out to capture his fifth Olympic medal Wednesday night in Rio.
The 6-foot-6 athlete earned one gold medal at the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games, and a gold and a silver in the 2012 London Games.
Earlier this week in Rio, he won gold during the men’s 4x100m freestyle relay alongside Ryan Held, Michael Phelps and Caeleb Dressel. It marked the Americans’ first gold medal in this event in a major international meet since 2009, according to USA Today.
Throughout the 27-year-old swimmer’s career, his family has been his support system.
Here’s what you need to know about Adrian’s parents, and siblings.
1. Both of His Parents Are Retired
Adrian’s father, Jim, is a retired nuclear engineer. His mother, Cecilia, who was born and raised in Hong Kong, is a retired nurse who worked for the Bremerton School District.
Adrian has spoken highly of his entire family, and the role they’ve played in his success throughout his career.
“My family has been incredible,” Adrian recently told People. “At the end of the day, I know my family loves me and supports me in whatever I do.”
Cecilia told Swim Swam that she and her husband gave Adrian a lot of freedom to make his own choices in his younger years. She explained the only criteria was that his grades did not suffer.
“When he (Adrian) was in 7th grade, he wanted to leave our local swim team and join the Tacoma Swim Team which is 40 miles away. We made that trip to Tacoma for 6 years, snow or shine and never looked back,” she told the swimming blog.
Her advice to other moms of aspiring swimmers is to leave the coaching for the coach.
“Share the ups and downs with your child on the emotional level,” she told Swim Swam. “Swimming is only a phase in their life, it will come to an end eventually– use this as a learning tool in life.”
2. He Has Praised His Mother For Her Positive Influence
Adrian told People that his mother influenced him in a very positive, yet unique way.
The backseat my mom took was really important for me. All through high school and college, she never took it upon herself to motivate me. She knew that was my coaches’ job and knew ultimately that motivation had to come from me internally. Her not putting too much pressure on me to perform or any of that has been nice.
Cecilia told Swim Swam, she began to realize her son’s athletic potential during his senior year. Adrian broke a 25-year-old state record in the 200m freestyle during his last year of high school.
“Then we knew that he was really good when he was recruited by Stanford, UC Berkeley, University of Auburn and University of Texas,” she told the blog. “I did not think he was exceptional until he made his first international meet in Manchester England 2008.”
3. His Siblings Were Also Swimmers
Adrian was born on December 7, 1988 in Bremerton, Washington.
His parents started taking him to swimming lessons in Bremerton when he was two years old because his two older siblings were involved in the sport, according to NBC.
Adrian made the local swim team at the age of five, according to his website. His motivation? To keep up with his older siblings, Donella and Justin.
His older sister, Donella, went on to swim at Arizona State University, and his older brother, Justin, swam at the University of Washington.
His mother admitted to Swim Swam that she has been the toughest on her eldest child, Donella, however has taught them all the value of hard work.
If you asked my first born, Donella, she would agree that I am more tough on her than I am on her brothers. Honestly I treat them the same. I expected them do their best whatever they want to do. Whatever they set out to do, they have to finish. Education is important. Working hard is a key to success.
4. His Family Supported His Decision to Take Time Off From Cal
Adrian had a solid swimming career in high school, where he was the state champion in the 100m freestyle as a freshman, and broke the state record in the 200m freestyle as a senior.
He continued his training in college at University of California at Berkeley, where he competed in three individual events and three relays at the 2007 NCAA’s. It was the following year that people started to take notice of Adrian’s talent and potential, according to his website.
Adrian made a tough choice in 2008 to take time off from Cal, and to focus on the Olympic trials. With the support of his family, he relocated to the Florida Keys to advance his training to the next level.
Adrian trained at The Race Club under his former coach at Cal, Mike Bottom and an elite group of swimmers, including Gary Hall, Jr., Michael Cavic, and Duje Draganja.
Throughout his collegiate years, Adrian became a five-time individual NCAA champion. He graduated from Cal in 2012 with a degree in Public Health.
5. His Entire Family Attended the 2012 London Games
Adrian’s entire family cheered him on at the 2012 London Games, where they watched him win his first individual gold medal.
Even his nephew Max attended Adrian’s Olympic trials, sitting in the front row to see his uncle win the 100m freestyle.
Adrian’s mother says she still gets nervous watching him compete.
“It never gets easier. I got nervous with my other children also,” she told Swim Swam. “That’s the nature of the beast, you are with your children all the way, no matter what.”