News Article Details

Loves Park scuba divers heading to Mexico to make some world records

Rockford Register Star - 1/27/2019

Jan. 27--LOVES PARK -- Jaxon Bosselman, a 4-year-old with autism, began talking, laughing and doing better in school because of scuba diving.

Two years shy of his 100th birthday, William Lambert is impressed with the exercise's ability to warm and loosen his arthritic joints.

Together, they soon will leave for Cozumel, Mexico, and make four open water dives in the Gulf of Mexico in hopes of establishing some new Guinness World Records. They'll start their quest Feb. 10 and conclude the next day.

Jaxon could become the youngest boy scuba diver and the first to receive such a designation. Lambert could become the oldest male, breaking the present record by three years.

"The water down there is just perfect," said Dan Johnson, who also goes by "Captain Dan" at the Loves Park Scuba & Snorkel store where the duo trains. "We're going to take it real slow. We're going to do it."

Johnson has trained more than 10,000 scuba divers since his 7307 North Alpine Road store opened in 1984. Jaxon's mom, Marcela Castillo, has worked for him for about two years.

They came across research indicating autistic children could benefit from scuba diving because of its use of nitrox, a gas mixture composed of more parts nitrogen than oxygen. They also started sharing scuba diving with autistic children known for communication and behavioral problems.

Castillo first introduced Jaxon to nitrox with a fish bubbler. After five days of breathing with the nitrox, Jaxon was calmer, more alert and trying to speak.

He was ready to get into Captain's pool last February, breathing underwater with a regulator. These days, he loves being underwater with his scuba diving gear. People have been known to call him Diver Jaxon.

"He became a natural," Castillo said. "He wants to dive and he wants to go to the beach. He'll get to see the ocean for the first time and actually swim in it. It's amazing. It's just amazing ... His accomplishments that he's done in just the last year. Once you get him going, ... he overcomes any fear and hesitation he has."

Jaxon begged his mother to get into the pool with him on Friday. While they suited up, Lambert left the water. The former metallurgist with National Lock Co. was part of a group from an assisted living facility on Mulford Road who visited the scuba shop late last year.

Johnson asked Lambert if he'd like to break a world's record and Lambert agreed to give it a try.

He's looking forward to breaking a world's record with someone who is 94 years younger than himself.

"He's good," Lambert said of Jaxon, anticipating their time in the Gulf together. "That's going to be fun."

Susan Vela: 815-987-1392; svela@rrstar.com; @susanvela

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