Phelps' father, who did divorce Phelps' mother when Phelps was nine, no doubt had an impact and was an influence on his son. Phelps' father also affected hum by inviting his new girlfriend to watch Phelps in the Sydney Olympics possibly leaving a bitter past. Phelps and his Dad say they have moved on, but the fact that Phelps' mother is there (and helping with her grandson) may be another contributing factor.
The fact is that, Fred and Michael Phelps have had issues. Additionally their past conveys a disturbed, as well as complex, connection. At the tender young age of nine, Michael observed his mother and father become separated. In 2014 Michael was stopped by the police for drunk driving. Fred went to see Michael in rehabilitation, where the pair of them settled their problems.
Like most fathers, Michael Phelps dad was certainly a great influence on him. He certainly looks up to his dad, and even if his dad was never a big presence in his life, he was still and important influence in his life and he will always remember his father and the things he taught him.
Michael Phelps' father Fred Phelps did not have much of an influence on Michael Phelps, aside from perhaps a slightly negative one. Michael Phelps' parents divorced when he was young, and he is quoted as having said his swimming coach was a father figure instead of his actual father. Fred & Michael have a better relationship now than they did when Michael's career was on the rise, but Michael recently said in Sports Illustrated that their communication was better, not fixed. When Michael Phelps was younger, he and his father did not get along and his father missed at least one record-setting swim meet.