The U.S. Coast Guard rescue swimmer test starts with the equivalent of wrestling a linebacker in a hurricane, and gets worse from there.
Called the Multi—short for Three-Man Multiple Rescue Scenario—it’s the final test a U.S. Coast Guard airman must pass to become an Aviation Survival Technician (AST), an elite swimmer who leaps into water out of a helicopter and hauls drowning mariners to safety.
“The Multi is a fitness test, but it’s also a gut-check test,” says Senior Chief Scott Rady, a veteran AST—he saved lives during Hurricane Katrina—and school chief of the Coast Guard’s Aviation Technical Training Center in Elizabeth City, NC. “Grown men are crying when they’re done with this, because they know they’ve overcome the last hurdle on their way to becoming an AST. It’s a big deal.”