Knoxville swimmer says pool is "the Fountain of Youth"

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) - Time is a funny thing.

"The clock does not lie, we know that," laughed Bill Lauer. "You don't stretch the truth when it comes to the clock."

In the sport of swimming, the goal is to make the time faster. But Lauer said it's different out of the pool. "When you're out of the water, time slows down, for me anyway."

Lauer, who will turn 84 in two months, seems to have a way to stop time in the pool.

"It is the Fountain of Youth," he said.

Maybe it's not the walls and the chlorine that keeps him young. But there's certainly something in the water.

"My body has usual aches and pains, I might get a little tendinitis, but swimming has a great social aspect to it and I think that's part of the thing that keeps you young," he said.

With every stroke, as Lauer grabs the water, his teammates at Tennessee Aquatics Masters Swimming will confirm, he grabs hold of what's important.

"He's a lot of fun, always cutting up in the pool, makes everyone laugh. He livens up the workouts and he's just a great guy," said swimmer Dennis Toth.

"He's one of my favorite people on the planet and anyone who meets him will tell you the same thing," added teammate Kathleen Christie.

He doesn't just do it for fun, although that's a big part of it. Specializing in butterfly, he has traveled the world racking up medals, winning national titles and setting records for his age group. Last week he was inducted into the Tennessee Senior Olympics Hall of Fame.

"I didn't win a first national title until it was 1985, so I'd been swimming 15 years in Masters," he said.

He's nothing short of a champion.

"He's never stopped swimming. He's an inspiration to kids of all ages and adults and just reminds you that you're never too old to keep swimming," said swimmer and coach Justin Baxter.

He's a teammate and a friend.

"Just a great guy overall, what he does in the pool but he's an even better person and a great friend," said Toth.

Time doesn't stop, even when people want it to.

"I have a saying that goes growing old is mandatory, growing up is optional. I'm kinda stubborn that way," laughed Lauer. "Sometimes I have to ask for a senior citizen time out"

Everyone can take a lesson from Lauer about grabbing on to what's important while the clock is ticking.

"To all the various teammates that I've had to work out with who expect me to keep up with them, who don't cut me any slack, take me out of my comfort zone," he said. "I have to attribute everything I've ever won, is a tribute to their effort and support, period."