Nathan Adrian Opens Up About Becoming a Girl Dad to Newborn Daughter: 'I Do Feel Lucky'

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Alyssa Johnson
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Nathan Adrian Instagram; Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images Nathan Adrian's daughter Parker

Nathan Adrian is officially a girl dad!

The Olympic swimmer, 32, and his wife, Hallie Ivester, welcomed their daughter, Parker Jacquelyn, into the world in early February.

Adrian shares that the powerful women in his own life make him feel lucky to be raising a girl. He mentions his hardworking wife, who is at a female-led company, his sports agent and past physical therapist, whom he calls some of "the best in the world." The gold medalist also feels grateful for the progress that society is continuing to make on gender equality.

"I think that a lot has changed since our parents' generation," Adrian tells PEOPLE. "I get to bring a baby girl into the world where I get to say, 'You can be anything you want and you can be the first, but there are people actually doing that.' "

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Adrian shares that he feels lucky to be bringing up Parker in a progressive place like the Bay Area, where the president of Berkeley is a woman and it also is the hometown of the first female vice president, Kamala Harris.

"I mean Kamala Harris is another example," says Adrian. "She is from Oakland and I'm actually about three or four miles away from where she grew up in Berkeley, which is pretty cool. So I am happy for the times and the progress that we've made."

Adrian shares that while he has some "first-time parent jitters", he feels that both him and Ivester are more than ready to care for their baby girl due to their experience of taking care of nieces and nephews.

"I do feel like we are prepared in some ways because [Hallie's] brother and sister in law, they have a baby that's just about to turn one," Adrian tells PEOPLE. "And I actually have seven nieces and nephews up in Washington. For the past eight, nine years, every time I go home, it's kind of like baby palooza."

Even though the two have experience of taking care of young children, Adrian says they are anticipating some sleepless nights. He jokes that he's witnessed his friends, who have recently become new parents, "run themselves ragged" by not alternating night shifts at the beginning.

Courtesy of Pottery Barn Kids

"Literally, all of our friends who have kids, it's just the same story over and over," says Adrian. "'We tried this, and then it was just too crazy. And then we had to alternate.' I'm like, 'Honey, that's what we're doing from the start.' That was kind of my one thing. Both of us are going to definitely prioritize sleep as much as we can."

The couple also plans on using family for support as they get through their first year of being new parents. Ivester's mother and father live just an hour away from their house in Oakland.

"They're close enough and so unbelievably helpful for really any aspect of our lives," says Adrian. "We know that we'll be able to lean on them for a night off. I have three meals in the freezer that they cooked for us in anticipation of having a baby."

Nathan Adrian

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While the swimmer is preparing for the upcoming Olympic Games, he shares that he wants to make sure that his daughter pursues whatever activity that she loves.

"I do feel blessed that I found a passion at a young age, for the sport of swimming," says Adrian. "That's gonna be what I put an emphasis on as a father: find what she gravitates towards. Maybe she's gonna be a little bit more of a creative person. Swimming isn't necessarily catering to that, maybe it's some other sport or some other outlet."

He adds, "I think, for me, the marker for success would be finding and facilitating that thing that she's super passionate about."