Congratulations to Olympian Michael Phelps and Nicole Phelps, who just announced the birth of their fourth child — another boy — on January 22. He joins Boomer Robert Phelps, Beckett Richard Phelps, and Maverick Nicholas Phelps, who are 7, 5, and 4, respectively. The couple have never shied away from picking unique, gender-neutral baby names that also honor family, and their newest son, Nico Michael, is part of that family trend.
The trend started with Boomer, the couple’s first child — Boomer is a distinctly American and gender-neutral name that means “large, loud or notable,” per BabyNames. The name is so unique it’s not even ranked in the top 1,000 baby boy names in the United States. Boomer’s middle name — Robert — is decidedly more traditional and is a tribute to Bob Bowman, Phelps’ lifelong swim coach.
The trend continued with son Beckett, a gender-neutral name that is often interpreted to mean “beehive” and is of British/English origin, The Bump reports. While Beckett is typically a last name, but quite a few celebrities have chosen it for their babies (Conan O’Brian has a child named Beckett, as do Melissa Etheridge, and Stella McCartney). But it’s still ranks high for uniqueness: In 2022, fewer than 2,000 baby boys were named Beckett in the U.S. Beckett’s traditional middle name — Richard — is a nod to Nicole’s dad.
When the couple welcomed their third child, they stayed on-trend with Maverick — a gender-neutral name with strong American vibes that means exactly what it sounds like. Whether or not they chose the name to be a play on the Top Gun call sign, we may never know, but it of course signifies independence. Though the inspiration for Maverick’s middle name — Nicholas — is uncertain, it’s hard not to notice the similarity to Nicole. While Maverick has a unique ring, it’s quite popular, the 40th most-popular name in the U.S., as of 2022 — the most popular it’s ever been.
And then came baby Nico, who has a name of Italian origin that means “victory of the people.” This family loves gender-neutral baby names! Nico is also a fairly unique name — only the 236th most popular baby boy name in the U.S. Nico’s middle name takes clear inspiration from dad: Michael — one of the most popular baby boy names of all time.