As a US Coast Guard Helicopter Rescue Swimmer, Jeffery Danner has one of those jobs that is often romanticized in blockbuster movies (think Kevin Costner in The Guardian), but when it comes right down to it, few real people could actually hack it.
A small group within the US Coast Guard (USCG), there are only about 300 USCG Rescue Swimmers servicewide. To join their ranks, candidates must endure physical and mental challenges that rival those facing any potential Army Ranger, Navy SEAL or Air Force pararescuemen. Because of this, Rescue Swimmer training school has one of the highest student attrition rates of any special operations school in the military. Roughly 75 students go through the school each year, and fewer than half make it out. So to say Danner, 41, is a serious bad a** is a fair assessment.
“Being fit is an important part of my life because it helps me do my job better,” says Danner. “If I am not in good enough shape to do my job, I am putting other people’s lives at risk.”
In his quest to constantly improve his current fitness level, Danner was surfing Youtube looking for a new workout when he saw Mark Verstegen of Athletes’ Performance and Mike Boyle from Strength Coach praising the TRX. He immediately purchased three TRX Suspension Trainers for use at the US Coast Guard Air Station in Sacramento, California, followed soon after by the purchase of a TRX S-Frame and 15 TRX FORCE Kits. With this new dedicated space ready to go, Danner got to work leading twice-weekly TRX workouts for the rest of his team on their hanger deck.
“Since I’ve been using the TRX, my fitness level has definitely improved. I have taken what I learned from Athletes’ Performance and applied it to the TRX workouts I do on my own and with the guys I train with. They love it.”
Coast Guard Rescue Swimmers are physically conditioned to meet certain physical, endurance and performance standards, so Danner and company are always looking to maintain those standards, and to keep pace with the new graduates from Rescue Swimmer training school.
“Being a Rescue Swimmer in the USCG is a young person’s game,” says Danner. “Trying to keep up with kids half my age is very challenging. But even so, when new swimmers show up to our Rescue Swimmer workshop, their first TRX workout led by the Old Chief is an eye opener!”
Injuries from performing Rescue Swimmer duties, as well as overuse injuries from working out, are a Rescue Swimmer’s biggest challenge, which is another reason why Danner relies on the TRX. “The TRX is versatile, portable and functional,” says Danner, “the workouts are a great way to stay in top shape and injury free. With the use of the TRX, I look forward to staying fit for a long time.”