Despite tough times, a boy strives to be an olympic swimmer

Knoxville, Tenn. (WVLT) - Gunfire,drugs and gangs - all found in what cops call, the high crime areas.

Many families forced to live in tough neighborhoods have nothing in common with the crooks. It's their only option in tough economic times.

William Watson walks the streets everyday. He and his friends know outside their doors, they can see a world of crime.
But inside, William and his family have a vision for a life free of violence and one that can bring fame and pride to their community.

He's only 8- years-old but William has the ambition of someone three times his age.

"I'm gonna be the next Michael Phelps," said William Watson.

Not only is he making A's and B's in school, he practices at the Boys and Girls Club.

With every breast stroke and every stride he's one step closer to making his dream, reality.

"He told me how he almost drowned when he was younger," said William's swimming coach, Sydney Pennington.

The one thing that was once his fear grew to be what he loves the most. The depth of William's passion stems from pain.

Last year, William's father was gunned down. The motive? An argument.

"I lost my children's father on April first then I got laid off at Party City, April 25th," said William's mother, Kenya Mckenzie.

Three months later, William got the call he'd been waiting for.
A trip to London and the chance to meet his idol.

"I've raised a family to believe that God can get us through any challenges, said Mckenzie.

With that foundation, Kenya teaches William and his sister they can be anything they want and make it out of the tough neighborhood they now call home.