Medal-winner finds family in swimming

Bill Lauer is in the pool four days a week. He has 33 national titles, and he's 79 years old.

"The connection between the water and the air when you're moving through it, I can't describe it," said Lauer.

Lauer is one of 45 members of the Knoxville U.S. Masters Swimming team.


May 1-4, Bill and his teammates traveled to Santa, Clara, California for spring nationals. Bill entered six events in the 75-79 age division, the most one individual is allowed to enter, and won gold in every one.

"It is truly impressive for a man at 79 years old to take six goal medals at U.S. Nationals," said coach Ed Walsh. "There are not many that went to U.S. Nationals and entered six events, let alone win all of them."

For Bill this trip was more than just winning medals. It was the first trip to nationals after losing his wife earlier this year.

"When we would go on these trips I would make a booklet," explained Lauer. "This time inside that book I put an 8x10 color photograph of my wife. I show that picture to people and they know who she was."

Bill went to nationals to swim, but gained a new family. He grew really close to his teammates and they have a special bond.

"He's definitely our leader," said Walsh. "I'm the coach, but he inspires me in life and he holds our team together."

"I may have been the only member to come back with a national championship," said Lauer. "But my teammates and Ed, I consider them champions of life and they got me, they got me where I am."


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