Amanda Miller has been coming to the Bethany Beach shores practically her entire life. And she knew a long time ago that one day she was going to be a lifeguard for that same beach she’d been visiting every summer.
“My dad was a lifeguard, growing up on Rockaway Beach in New York,” Miller said as to her inspiration for becoming a beach patrol lifeguard. “He would always tell us stories about how it’s such a great experience, and how he made lifelong friends doing it. He always talked about how much fun it was, and I knew that it was something that I would want to try at some point in my life. Coming to Bethany Beach every summer as a kid, I really admired the lifeguards, and all that they did.”
Miller will be heading into her senior year at Villanova University just outside of Philadelphia this fall. She will be wrapping up her dual major of sociology and criminology. The daughter of Eric and Diane Miller is a member of the Wildcats’ rowing team at Villanova.
Growing up, Miller was a member of the local youth swim teams but ventured into the world of triathlons as a student-athlete at Springside Chestnut Hill Academy in Philadelphia.
“I swam starting around age 7, I think, on our local swim team,” Miller said. “I swam for about eight years. Then when I got to high school, I drifted more towards rowing. Around my freshman year of high school is when I picked up triathlons, and excelling in triathlons really made me find my love for swimming in open waters and doing more of the distance aspect of athletics.”
Now in her third summer as a lifeguard on the Bethany Beach beach patrol, Miller is loving every minute of it, and could not find one negative thing to say about her summer gig. Her background in triathlons has certainly helped her growth as a lifeguard with regards to strength and endurance.
“I definitely enjoy the [lifeguard] competitions, but I wouldn’t say I specialize in any of these, though, just because they are a little bit different from what I am used to,” Miller continued. “It’s all much shorter-distance stuff, and I’ve always been more of a distance athlete. It definitely helps with workouts during the day at the job, having the stamina and endurance to partake in the really difficult workouts we do before we get on the stands.”
Those early morning, pre-shift, one-hour workouts every weekday can be pretty intense.
“Every weekday morning before we get on the stand, the entire patrol, including csaptain, all the lieutenants and the stand guards for that day, will do a workout from 8:30 to 9:30,” Miller added. “Those workouts normally consist of distance running, in-and-outs in the ocean, swimming, different sprints on the beach … all the different things that we could potentially face during the day in running backups or making rescues.”
Miller’s hard work and dedication have made her an exemplary member of the Bethany beach patrol team and family.
“Amanda is a smart, dedicated and highly skilled lifeguard,” Beach Patrol Capt. Joe Donnelly said of Miller. “She is eager to be the best she can be, both on and off the job. It’s been great watching her grow and develop into the lifeguard she has become. I’m very proud of her.”
The family atmosphere and team aspect — as many of her colleagues have mentioned during prior articles in this series — are a big draw for Miller in her enjoyment in being a Bethany lifeguard.
“We have the motto on the patrol, ‘I rely on you, you rely on me,” Miller concluded. “That kind of camaraderie that we have created really just makes the job worth it day-to-day. You know whatever you do on the beach, you have 28 other stand guards, all your lieutenants and captain, who have your back when you are doing that. The whole system with the patrol is that we all work together to make sure we keep Bethany Beach safe every day that we are working.”