Nightly News   |  June 23, 2013

US rescue swimmers go through grueling training

The elite group of rescue swimmers from the U.S. Coast Guard goes through training considered as grueling as Navy SEALs to join the small community charged with swimming into the face of danger. NBC’s Lester Holt reports.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> last night in in program we introduced you to the elite rescue swimmered from the u.s. coast guard . hollywood told their story in the 2006 "the guardian." tonight we take you to the new $24 million school where rescue swimmers are molded in a program as grueling as that of navy seals .

>> reporter: the men inside the cap sized boat have near seconds to open an exit, unbuckle and swim to the surface. thankfully they get a second chance here in the coast guard 's add vapsed new rescue training center where a normal day can turn into a dark and severe stormy night.

>> if we have a wave, lighting. we're creating a real more realistic environment.

>> this is home to the swimmer schools. the men and women who literally leap to the rescue are trained here. but it's low tech, sweat, exertion, dids iing challenges during an 18 week course.

>> i can teach them how to swim and tread water , but i can't teach don't wit quit.

>> but quit or fail, many of them will. these two are the only ones left of the class of 18.

>> reporter: do you look at each other and wonder is it ohm going to be one of us.

>> that's what they try to tell you.

>> reporter: this is this man's second try to become a rescue swimmer .

>> i'm going to have to push myself as hard if not harder this time around.

>> reporter: it's his partners first try.

>> often times i sing songs in my head while we're doing underwater.

>> reporter: when they fly to the rescue, the simmers are part of a team. but once in the water, they have to work alone.

>> why are we here? what's our job?

>> the brook exercise pushes train yeez to the close to epositionia.

>> any kind of under water exercise, clearly that's what your mind can make or break what happens.

>> reporter: many of the train yeez come here already accomplished swimmers. but learning these ropes is a whole new game.

>> you may come here an amazing athlete, but thief never been pushed to the point before where they can't go any farther.

>> reporter: in this facility, they can test their metal against the worst ocean conditions computers can create. if they can provide sl weebds here, they'll survive the real ocean can toss at them.

>> no matter what they throw at me in the next couple of weeks, i'm going to get through it.

>> there are only about 300 of them. if you can cuts the 18 week training program, there's another month before the swimmers join air units.