CHESAPEAKE, Va. (WVEC)-- A Virginia Beach teenager, fresh out of boot camp, has become the first woman to earn a guaranteed spot in the Coast Guard's rescue swimmer school.
Currently there are about 320 active duty rescue swimmers, and only two are women.
Dating all the way back to 1790, there has never been a female selected from the time she was a recruit for a guaranteed slot at the Aviation Technical Training Center in Elizabeth City, until now.
Her name: Seaman Meredith Sieller. She is the youngest of six kids and an 18- year-old graduate of Virginia Beach Friends School.
"I began competitive pool swimming when I was 8-years-old, and then began open water marathon swimming when I was 12-years-old," she said.
Meredith is getting paid to do what she loves, swim, all while saving lives.
"I couldn't think of a more rewarding career than to be a United States Coast Guard rescue swimmer," she said.
The Coast Guard said Aviation Survival Technicians, as rescue swimmers are formally known, are among the most physically and mentally elite members of the military. They are known for their endurance and judgment under pressure in life and death situations."
Those who know her say, Meredith will do just fine.
"She is very dedicated and she is very fit, and she is absolutely driven for this program," said Coast Guard recruiter, YN1 Ashely Coker.
Meredith has already passed Coast Guard recruit training in Cape May, New Jersey. She is now heading to the next phase of the program in Kodiak, Alaska. Then, she'll attend the 18-week A-ST "A" school in Elizabeth City.