100 year-old Rockford man attempts World Record scuba dive

Local Sports

SOUTH BELOIT, Ill. (WTVO/WQRF) — Labor Day was an ideal day at Pearl Lake in South Beloit. An ideal day to make some history. Bill Lambert of Rockford, who just turned 100 on Saturday, was out to put his name in the Guinness World Record book as the oldest scuba diver in history.

“I don’t know whether to jump up and down or fall down, Lambert said before his record attempt when asked how he was feeling.

Lambert has experienced a lot in his long life, including a stint in the air corps during World War II.

“I never got to go overseas,” said Lambert. “I just got sent all over the south.”

Lambert already held the unofficial Guinness World record when he went diving two years ago in Mexico at the young age of 98, so he was attempting to set the bar even higher. His daughter and son-in-law made the trip from Boston and his granddaughter came from New York to witness the dive.

“I’m apprehensive because of COVID, so I’m very nervous about the whole thing,” said his daughter Deb Steinfeld. “I think I’m more nervous about COVID than him diving.”

“We’re going to be in the Guinness Book of Records,” said Dan Johnson the owner of nearby Loves Park Scuba who was overseeing the record attempt. “He has to make one dive 20 minutes long.”

Some of Lambert’s friends from Loves Park Scuba were there to escort Lambert on his dive and make sure everything went smoothly. At 12:36 p.m. Lambert went under the water. More than 27 minutes later he resurfaced…another world record accomplished!

“I feel tired but good,” said Lambert. “That’s not just plain compressed air (in his tank). You’ve got extra oxygen in there. With the extra oxygen you feel good, but tired ha-ah.

So what’s next for Lambert?

“Make it to 101 ha-ha-ha.”

When Lambert was asked if he was going to go home and take a nap, he said ‘no.’ He just need a good night’s sleep tonight.

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