Olympic swimming great Michael Phelps has revealed he was initially scared to put his head underwater.

The American said: “I started swimming at seven. The first couple of years I was afraid of putting my face in the water. I just wasn’t comfortable.

“Eventually I just put it in and off I went.”

He also claims that growing up surrounded by water in Baltimore influenced his career path.

Speaking on behalf of sponsors Speedo, he said: “I just thought living in Baltimore was kind of the normal thing. Being on the water, living by the water, always surrounding myself with water.”