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81 Year-Old Swimmer Leaves Class Behind


David Bassett, Interim Department Head and professor in KRSS, invited decorated 81 year-old senior swimmer and retired dean and professor of architecture, Bill Lauer, to race against students in his “Physiology of Athletes: Exploring the Limits of Human Performance” class yesterday. Lauer swam against seven of the students in a competition appropriately named, “Are You Fitter Than an 80 Year-Old?”. The students, along with Bassett and professor emeritus in Exercise Physiology, Ed Howley, raced Lauer as a fun way to cap off the end of the semester.

Lauer and one student used the starting blocks while others dove in from the pool deck or pushed off of the wall to start the 200-yard freestyle event. Lauer swam the four laps in 2 minutes, 49 seconds, finishing well ahead of the students in the class. Howley finished in second place and Bassett came in third. The closest student completed the raceĀ one and one-half minutes behind Lauer.

Bassett’s class addresses topics dealing with the physiology of high-performing athletes by examining case studies of champions, as well as genetic, anatomical, and functional traits of individuals exploring the limits of human sports performance. Students recently discussed the aging athlete and how exercise can help prevent health problems that come with aging.

Bill Lauer is certainly a healthy role model for young people, as he still swims four to six times a week and competes on a regular basis. Read more and enjoy the video about Lauer and this fun end-of-semester activity by clicking here.

Photo Credit: Michael Patrick/Knoxville News Sentinel