A few memories

Hello Champs,

I apologize for not keeping the entries rolling while in London. With all the excitement, and the lack of consistent wifi, I had a tough time keeping up.

Let’s try to get on track.

 

A few memories from the games

When it hit me

The first full day we had in London, Shannon and I decided to do as much sight-seeing as we could. The first stop was Buckingham Palace. We didn’t realize that the palace was the location of one of the sports, the race-walk. Now I am sure a lot of you just read the sport and laughed while you did. The race-walk has always been the curling of the summer games. The idea of walking fast, hips popping left and right, is one the leaves many to scratch their heads. I had the exact same feeling… until I saw it in person… at the Olympic Games.

As Shannon and I got closer to the course, the noise grew. The course barricades were covered in vinyl, and each time walkers passed, the fans would bang on the vinyl and cheer the racers on. Just being there, hearing and feeling that excitement, was exhilarating. The thought ‘I cannot believe I am at the Olympics’ ran through my head on a loop.

 

 

The venues

To call any one of the competition arenas a venue does not do it justice. They were cathedrals. Each one was simple, yet perfect. And each one awe-inspiring.

And my true favorite…

After the pentathlon finished, Suzanne came up into the stands to see all of us in her cheering section. As soon as she emerged from the tunnel leading to the stands, everyone (not just us) turned. She came down, hugged everyone, and shared with us the excitement of the day. Two things come into play here. One, watching the five sports of the pentathlon on tv does not do it justice. We spent the entire day riding a wave of emotions, from wins in the fencing, to watching Suzanne ride a horse that didn’t cooperate, to the staggered start on the run/shoot. You are there, experiencing it all. Second, as a coach you have a connection, you are invested. When an athlete you work with finds success or disappointment, you feel it. When an athlete you work with competes in the Olympic Games, you feel it so much more. As we are talking with Suzanne, and showering her with pride, I could see over Suzanne’s shoulder a little girl standing still. She was patiently waiting, with pen and paper, for Suzanne to turn to ask for an autograph. She wasn’t the only one to ask for an autograph or a picture, but because she was the first that day, in the excitement of everything, I felt like I swallowed a golf ball.

 

 

And that is it for now.

Jeff

First day

Hello Champs

Dear McDaniel,

The closing ceremony is one day away. Should we just go to will-call for our tickets?

 

My wife and I have four kids. Some days they test our patience. During our flight here we were lucky enough to spend some time with a young girl who took the test to another level. During our seven hours we were serenaded with this two-year old’s only word (please read: sound)… Nah. Some of the others in our party debated the actual word, but being as I was in the row directly behind this young lady, I am going with a sharp ‘nah’.

After getting settled in our hotel, Avis, Damien (Suzanne’s fencing coach), and I headed to the Proctor and Gamble house to meet up with Suzanne.The P&G house is a place for athletes to met up with friends and family; you just have to be ‘on the list’. Lucky for me, Suzanne likes me enough to grant me access.

After picking up a considerable amount of all things Proctor and Gamble, we headed back to our hotel, giving Suzanne a chance to meet up with her family, who she hasn’t seen in months.

The big day is tomorrow, and Suzanne is itching to race. Fencing starts the day-long competition at 8:00a. I will be in two competitions of my own; the first with trying to out-post our SID with live results (I think being here gives me the edge). The second one is in the Twitter-sphere with Suzanne. Her number of followers has sky-rocketed this last month, or so. I guess being Olympian helps with this popularity thing.

Shannon and I are headed this today to take in London. It’s going to be a great day.

If there are any typos, etc. please forgive me. I am using an iPad to type this…aggravating to say the least.

Keep it real,

Jeff

London calling

 

Hello Champs.

Dear McDaniel,

Suzanne posted this the morning after the opening ceremonies:

 

After a long night at #OpeningCeremonies hope my swim coach can join me at #closingceremony

We can’t deny the olympian her wish, can we?

 

I would like to take a moment in this post to extend the largest congratulations I can muster to Coach Bob Bowman, and Michael Phelps. Over the course of 4 Olympic Games, 24 events, 22 medals, 18 of them gold. Absolutely phenomenal!

Again, congratulations!

 

Frances Merryman sent this note to me last week. Frances is Suzanne’s father’s cousin.

Did you know that Suzanne’s cousin, Tamara McKinney, skied on 3 Olympic teams for the US – only US woman to win the overall World Cup?

I do now, Frances. Pretty cool fact. Congratulations to Tamara!

 

And from Joanne Fry (mother of recent graduate, Jess)

We are all sooooo excited for you and Suzanne!!! You are making us proud. Give Suzanne a big hug for us!!
The Frys of Georgia

I would like to respond to this one. Joanne, I’ll let you know that Suzanne is already in debt with ‘hugs from Jeff’. She received one on Senior Day, one at the Conference Championships, and knowing full-well she hit her limit, she ambushed me with one the night before she left for Colorado. I will however, pass along the note.

 

And finally, our question of the week. This one comes from Tanner’s (one of my boys) art teacher:

Are you excited? Does a bear…

I am very excited. I am planning to go with as little sleep as possible.

 

I am going to keep this post short. I am on a shortened, family vacation as I type this. We have been trying to enjoy a week-long vacation in the Outer Banks for the past three years. Two years ago we had to leave early to bring my oldest son back in time for his middle-school orientation. Last year we got kicked out due to the hurricane that came through. We thought we were smart in scheduling our week earlier this year, but here comes the opportunity to attend the Olympic Games. Big opportunity.

 

My wife and I, along with the other coaches, and Suzanne’s family, leave for London on August 9th. I will post as many entries as I can while there, but I am sure with all the excitement, they will be much shorter than what I have posted so far. I will also use twitter as much as I can (@McDanielSwim). If you would like to follow Suzanne, @sstettinius

 

Suzanne is in Poland right now, putting the finishing touches on her training. The morning after the Opening Ceremony, the US pentathlon team flew out to Poland to train in a quieter environment. From the emails, and texts she has sent me, she is setting herself up very well. She will fly back to London on the 9th, and compete on the 12th.

Let’s get together and shout from the hilltops, “GO SUZANNE!”.

 

Have a great week everyone,

 

Jeff

Dear Suzanne

Hello Champs.

Dear McDaniel,

The BBC will be broadcasting the closing ceremonies in 3D. Great opportunity to show off my new, pop-up McDaniel t-shirt.

Now, if I only had tickets.

 

 

A few favorite Olympic memories from some of our readers…

Being an assistant coach at Germantown Academy/Foxcatcher when we put four men on the 1992 Olympic team

-Bob Platt, Westside Silver Fins coach

 

Mark Henderson was a member of the USA 400 Medley team that won Gold and set a World Record at the 96 games. I remember watching him when I as about 5 years old during Summer Rec Swimming blow guys out of the water from the team that my family belonged to. Our league(which he still holds records) helped raise money to send him to the Olympics and I remember at 12 years old being so excited to see someone that I had the slightest of connections with win a Gold medal.

-Mark Wheeler, McDaniel Class of 2005/Swimming alum

 

Being at a swimming venue with the USA basketball team, two US Presidents, Henry Kissinger and Bill Gates and all of them cheering for TEAM USA! As I told a friend that is just another day at the Olympics. It’s a true world event.

-Sean Hutchison, Creator of IKKOS/2008 Olympic Swimming Coach

Thanks for sharing. If you would like to join in, and offer up your favorite Olympic memory, please feel free to post to comments.

 

 

In anticipation of the Opening ceremonies on Friday, I would like to take some time in this entry to thank all those who have sent me a message of  ‘good job’, or ‘I enjoy reading your blog’. Oddly enough, they all seem to have the same email address… thanks Mom.

Obviously, I wouldn’t have the opportunity to write the last few entries, nor document my upcoming trip to the Games, if it wasn’t for Suzanne. Thank you, Suzanne… you continue to be a perfect vehicle for my genius.

I have always enjoyed writing, and this latest project has been a lot of fun. It seems more often than not, I find the story already written, and all I have to do is ‘talk to the keyboard’. It happened that the first three entries to this blog were easy; the next entry arrived before the current one was even completed.  I only needed to wait a few days between postings to build some anticipation. But this entry has proven to be a little more difficult. I’ll explain.

For what seems to be the entire length of my coaching career I have been described as aloof, difficult to communicate with, or a man of few words (sometimes all at once). The majority of my career has been spent sharing the tools for swimming, but not much in the way of emotions.  So you might understand my surprise when this last entry came to me.

 

Dear Suzanne,

I always have, and always will tell my athletes that sport is about personal excellence. The reasons you strive to be your best on the field, in the pool, or in your case, on the back of a horse, are the same reasons you strive to be the best sister, the best daughter, and in the future, the best mother you can be.  It is our dedication to this pursuit of personal excellence that allows us to find out how great we truly can be.

Suzanne, you are there.

 

As you enter these Olympic Games, I wanted to share a few thoughts with you.

I am proud of you.

I said in one of the interviews that setting a goal was easy, but seeing it through takes discipline. This isn’t entirely accurate; it takes more. For those on the ‘outside’, they could see you training, competing, and ultimately making the Olympic team. But for those of us on the ‘inside’, we have been lucky enough to see the ups and downs throughout all the training, and competing. We have been able to see the terrible hands you have been dealt, and we have been able to see you play them out. You have been thrown from the horse (literally) on more than one occasion, and each time you picked yourself up, and got right back on.

Great athletes find a way

I want to thank you for being a great role model. I can see it in my own children, who are excited when they see you on the tv, and even more so when they spend time with you. The time you have taken to talk with them, and share with them, speaks volumes of your character. I can only imagine the sense of awe all the pony club members feel when they see you, and realize the connection they share with you.

You recognize the importance in giving back to the future of your sport. And that is powerful.

You have been, and continue to be an inspiration. Not only to the future pentathletes, but for all those who have been able to connect with you. And that connection has pushed everyone around you to be better, to be the best they can be.

During one of our interviews I was asked what I would tell you if I was standing next to you at the Games. I am sure you have seen the movie ‘Forrest Gump’. One of my favorite scenes from the movie is when Forrest is talking to Jenny about the time he spent running from coast to coast (and back again). While Forrest was in the midst of running, it seems to be a period when he ‘just ran’. But when he tells Jenny about it, he describes the sunrise in the desert, the stars at night, and the way the sky met the mountain lake. It is a great scene because what he remembered most was not the destination, but what he experienced on the way to the destination.

And Suzanne, this is what I would like to tell you. Enjoy it all. Find a moment during these next two and a half weeks when you can close your eyes, tilt your head back, and breath it all in.

You earned it!

 

I have had a lot of fun working with you these last few years, and I wish you every bit of success at the Games.

Your favorite swim coach named Jeff,

 

Jeff

Go Suzanne!

Hello Champs.

Dear McDaniel,

The opening and closing ceremonies of both the Olympics and Paralympics will be viewed by an estimated 4 billion people. Roughly 1 billion viewers for the closing ceremonies of the Olympic Games means roughly 1 billion people could see me and my wife sporting the college colors… if only we had tickets.

Just saying.

 

Our question for this post comes from L.H.

L.H. writes, ‘Why McDaniel?’’ a question that lends itself to some of our school’s brochures, postcards, etc.

Thanks for the question, L.H. I will do my best to answer from both the perspective of the college community, as well as my position as coach of the swimming programs. But first, I must say that what I write is my opinion, based on my experience here at the ‘Thrill on the Hill’, and not necessarily the opinion of the college (I don’t want to lose the chance of those closing ceremony tickets).

So what makes McDaniel different? Why McDaniel?

When a high school senior is making the decision where to attend school, I think the final question comes down to, ‘what can this college do for me?’

Likewise, when a college is making the decision to admit a student, the final question comes down to, ‘what can this student do for the college?’

Here at McDaniel, I think we are progressive with that final question. The question we like to ask is, ‘what can WE accomplish TOGETHER?’

When I am asked that question from a prospective student-athlete, I like to keep my answer short.

Why McDaniel? We keep magic water in our pool.

 

Again, great question.

 

On to the topics of this post. First up, how do you pronounce Suzanne’s last name?

For those of you beating the heat on Independence Day, you probably found yourself watching ‘The Capitol Fourth’ program on the tube, looking to point out our favorite Olympian. Along with the performances of the National Symphony Orchestra, Matthew Broderick (Bueller…. Bueller… Bueller), and others, the program honored twelve Olympians and Paralympians, including Suzanne.

Apolo Anton Ohno, one of the greatest Olympians and a co-host of the program, was given the duty of announcing each of the athletes by name, as well as sharing their sport and hometown. Out of respect for one of the greats, I will have to say the heat must have played havoc on the equipment Apolo was using to read from. He reached Suzanne without too much difficulty, and had her first name out fine. But her last name, pronounced with four syllables, suddenly picked up twelve… and maybe a hyphen. I had to get up and check the rabbit ears on my t.v. to make sure we were still getting a good signal.

It was pretty hot that day, and I am positive the heat scrambled the feed to the teleprompter.

Stettinius, pronounced Ste-tin-ni-us. Easy as it looks.

Here is a great shot of the correction.

 

“The brick walls are there for a reason. The brick walls are not there to keep us out. The brick walls are there to give us a chance to show how badly we want something. Because the brick walls are there to stop the people who don’t want it badly enough. They’re there to stop the other people.”
― Randy Pausch

Along the pathway to success, brick walls come in many shapes and sizes. Sometimes you see them far down the road, and can prepare. But sometimes the brick walls drop down right in front of your next step.

There were walls along the way Suzanne knew she was going to face; keeping herself high enough in the world rankings, for one.

And then there were others that came out of nowhere.

In September of 2009, at the Shawan Downs Legacy Chase, Maiden Timber race Suzanne came face-to-face with what seemed an insurmountable brick wall. The horse in front of her fell at the third-to-last fence. The horse Suzanne was riding, aptly named Big Bad Joe, came in close to the jump. Making what she now realizes as a mistake, Suzanne got in front of her horse (she thought he was going to take off long). Big Bad Joe did a bad thing, and stopped. Suzanne kept going, over the horse, hitting her head and breaking the C1 vertebra of her neck.

For those who enjoy this type of video, here is the link to her accident (I have never watched), and a photo.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4NZv4l1eNt4

Months were spent in a brace, and a valuable lesson was learned. Never get in front of your horse.

Suzanne’s senior year in school saw a lot of training, but few competitions. A week after the conference championships, Suzanne headed to California for what was to be the first test of the work she had put in that year. The results were fantastic; her swimming time from the previous summer had dropped over twenty seconds. Matched with the other disciplines, which were already strong and constantly improving, qualifying for the Olympic team was becoming more than just a dream. It was becoming a foreseeable reality.

Not so fast. Later that spring, knowing she was riding one Sunday morning, I sent her a text to ask what time she planned to swim.

The reply ‘I am leaving the hospital. I broke my collarbone.’ While attempting to clear a 4’ hay bale, the horse ended up rolling over it, and Suzanne. Another brick wall.

The recovery for this injury included inserting a pin to help stabilize the bone, which would hopefully speed up the process. With Suzanne’s frame, and obvious lack of excess, the pin presented itself as a bump underneath her skin. It would move, hit a nerve, and send a painful reminder that it was still there. The doctor’s advice, ‘you are just going to have to deal with it’. Not the first time Suzanne had heard that.

Suzanne dealt with this setback the best she could, using the time away from being able to use her upper body to put more time into her running. What seemed a setback, actually helped pave the way for breakthroughs on the run.

This past summer, the final months of the Olympic qualifying period were stressful. Although Suzanne was in a great spot, she was not in a position to sit back and relax. Her top three scores had her in a position to earn a berth to the games, but she was still able to be caught by another American. The few remaining World Cup events had to be strong performances to hold her position.

During the fencing portion of a World Cup in Hungary, she ran into yet another brick wall. Suzanne was fencing incredibly well, but during a bout with an Egyptian competitor, Suzanne severely pulled her hamstring during a lunge. She was unable to continue the competition, and was forced to also pull out of the next World Cup, which was in Russia a week later. Although it didn’t close the door on making the Olympic team, it did open the door for others to pass her in the rankings, both domestically and internationally. One of the greatest frustrations for an athlete is finding themselves in a position where they cannot control the outcome. Suzanne was forced to spend the next weeks rehabbing her injury, and hoping the competitions she missed worked out in her favor.

In typical Suzanne fashion, she sent a video of her injury. Again, I never watched it.

IMG_0101

Great athletes find their way over, around, or through brick walls.

 

So I hope you are enjoying the posts up to this point. I have a few things I would like you to take away from this one, for homework, so to speak.

  1. Give someone a high five, and say ‘Go Suzanne’. You can find someone you know, but it would be even better to find someone you don’t. This way, when you say ‘Go Suzanne’, the other person will be forced to ask ‘who is Suzanne?’, and you will be granted the opportunity to share her great story and increase her fan-base.
  2. Go to Suzanne’s facebook fram (that’s three words, friends+fan+family) page, and add a Good Luck, Go Get’em, or Kick some Ass message (knowing Suzanne, she’ll like this one best). Make sure you make note of where you coming from. For example: ‘From all of us at your favorite grocery store, we wish you the best of luck in London’, or even better ‘I’m the EMT who put the neck brace on you’. If you have already done so, feel free to do so again. Here is the link, http://www.facebook.com/mobileprotection#!/groups/383569455011942/
  3. In honor of the opening ceremonies next Friday, wear Red, White, and Blue. I will be posting again between now and then, but I want to give you a chance to pick out the best outfit.
  4. Send me your favorite Olympic memory. Or should I say second favorite Olympic memory… since Suzanne’s would be your first. We’ll post to the next entry. jhiestand@mcdaniel.edu

 

Let’s go Suzanne,

Jeff

Suzanne, and the art of the pentathlon

 

What d’ya say, McDaniel?

Looks like a great place for a swim coach and his wife to show off some school colors.

 

Before we get started with this next post, I would like to answer our first question.

This first one comes from a young lady named Suzanne.

Suzanne writes:

‘This blog is great. It’s as if you took a huge piece of chocolate cake, and turned it into words. Can I follow it? Can I post it’?

Thanks for the feedback, Suzanne. And great question. I had to ask the communications office for some help with the answer, but here goes. At the end of the blog, you should see a bar that shows a few options to share it… Facebook, twitter, etc. There is also a link for rss feed. If you click on that link, you should receive a notice each time an entry posts. This should also work if you would like to repost to Facebook, or twitter.

 

This question leads me into my next topic, Facebook likes. During a lengthy discussion over multiple cookies in the dining hall yesterday, I learned a disappointing fact. Vince Buscemi, from our Communications office here at McDaniel, told me without much publicity the first entry to this blog was viewed close to five hundred times in the first day. Great news, indeed. The troubling news was it was ‘liked’ somewhere in the teens, which he said is a normal statistic. We can do better than that, McDaniel. Spread the word.

 

Okay, so on to the main topics of this post.

What is the Modern Pentathlon?

As I wrote before, the Modern Pentathlon was developed by the founder of the Modern Olympics, for the Modern Olympics. As the ancient pentathlon was designed to test the skills of the ideal soldier, Baron Pierre de Coubertin updated the event to match the time period. What would a 19th century soldier face, if caught behind enemy lines?

 

Fencing

Each pentathlete will face the other thirty-five contestants in a dual, lasting no more than 1 minute. First touch wins. If neither gets the touch within that minute, both contestants pick up a loss. This is the only discipline of the five, where the score of each contestant depends on how well they fare against the other competitors.

Swimming

200 meters in the pool. Athletes are ‘seeded’ according to their best times. Points are awarded (or lost) based on how each contestant fares against the standard time, two minutes and forty seconds for women.

Equestrian

Growing up on a horse farm, this is without question Suzanne’s best discipline. Horses for each competition are loaned from local stables. Contestants are paired with a horse, and given twenty minutes to ‘warm up’ prior to their ride, which consists of negotiating the horse over jumps within a time limit. Obviously, with a stable of horses, you will find there will always be a best horse, and always a worst. Couple that with chances a less experienced competitor might ‘spook’ the horse in a prior round, and you can understand where the test starts. Points are taken away if the ride is not within the time limit, barriers are knocked down, or the horse refuses.

 (please note: a signed copy of this picture is going up on my office wall)

Combined

This event is a combination of shooting and running, which up until 2009 were contested separately. Now each athlete will use a laser-pistol to hit a target five times, reloading after each shot, then run 1000 meters, repeating for three rounds total. Athletes are started according to their scores through the equestrian event.

So that is the Modern Pentathlon. What would a soldier face if she finds herself behind enemy lines?

 

 

On to the second topic, fundraising.

As I wrote in my initial entry, Suzanne’s parents have raised enough funds to send me and my wife; along with her other coaches, to London to see her compete. But that is not the only reason for the fundraising. In most sports, when choosing the team to send to the Olympics, each individual country will hold trials for that sport. Within the last few weeks you might have found yourself watching swimming trials, or gymnastics, or waiting to see if those two girls were going to face off again on the track to see who would go to the Olympics. In the Modern Pentathlon, the world-wide qualification process began in January of 2011, and was just finalized a few weeks ago.

Some slots were awarded based on specific competition results; if an athlete won the World Cup Final in 2011, they automatically qualified. The top three competitors at 2011 World Championships, held in Moscow, were also awarded a berth in the Olympics. Finally, automatic berths were awarded to the winners of Continental Championships. The majority of competitors however, secured their place by amassing point totals (best three) that kept them within the top 36 (maximum Olympic athletes) in the world. Points were awarded at specific competitions all over the globe. Just within the last year, Suzanne has traveled to competitions in Brazil, China, Hungary, Russia, and Italy. She needed to be first or second in points for the U.S., as well as keep herself within the top 36 in the world, to be in the position to make the Olympic team. Funding such a schedule has pushed Suzanne, and her family, to rack up considerable dept. The opportunity to represent you country, and compete in the Olympic Games does not come cheap. And this is the reason for the fundraising campaign.

To read more about Suzanne, or to make a donation, please visit her site: https://sites.google.com/a/mintmeadows.com/suzanne2012/home

 

 

If you would like to follow Suzanne on twitter: @sstettinius

If you would like to follow McDaniel swimming: @McDanielSwim

Although I am thankful for all those who follow our twitter account, how cool is it that the MD Thoroughbred Association is following us?

 

 

Again, if you have any questions, send away.

Topics for the next entry will include how to properly pronounce Suzanne’s last name, as well as a few of the obstacles she has faced along the way. For example, how not to dismount a horse.

 

 

Until then, I am looking for a few suggestions as to what to call this little journal I am writing. The word blog, I have learned, comes from web+log. Understandable combination, but still an odd word. Let’s come up with something original, a sniglet (there’s a reference for all you kids from the 80’s), if you will. Send me your suggestions, jhiestand@mcdaniel.edu

 

Keep it real,

 

Jeff

Let’s get this rolling

 

Hello Champs,

When the Communications office asked if I would write about my experiences these next few weeks, I jumped at the opportunity. Not only will it give me a chance to dust off my writing skills, but it will also provide the opportunity to shine some more light on Suzanne, and the McDaniel College swimming program. So move over Dorian Gray, there are more important things to read this summer.

I am guessing by now a few of you are already lost, and wondering ‘who is this guy’, and ‘who is Suzanne’. So, let’s start there.

Suzanne Stettinius is a former McDaniel swimmer who competes in the modern pentathlon. She graduated in May of 2011 with a degree in Business Administration. During this past year, Suzanne has continued to train for the swimming portion of the event with her dear, old college coach. In addition to swimming, Suzanne also fences, runs, shoots, and is phenomenal on a horse. Suzanne is a modern pentathlete, and she will be representing the United States in the 2012 Summer Olympics.

So who am I? My name is Jeff Hiestand, and I am the Head Coach of the Men’s and Women’s Swimming programs at McDaniel College… aka the campus of milk and honey, aka the thrill on the hill. For a number of reasons I am a terribly lucky guy, but for the sake of this entry I will share just one… I am heading to London for the 2012 Summer Olympics.

So what is the Modern Pentathlon? Developed by the founder of the Modern Olympics, for the Modern Olympics, the Modern Pentathlon combines fencing, swimming, horse-back riding (equestrian), running, and shooting into one event. More on this in the next entry.

Before I get started with my entries, I would like to use this initial one to extend a few thank-yous, and lay some ground rules.

Up first, I would like to thank Willie and Avis Stettinius, Suzanne’s parents. When Suzanne qualified for the games, Willie and Avis came through with a promise from over a year ago and raised enough funds to send me, along with my beautiful wife, Shannon, to watch Suzanne compete in London. They have offered an incredible eight-day trip, but with four kids at home (and a few more animals), we don’t want to lose any friends or family members who take on the task of watching them, so we are going for five. Thank you Willie, and Avis.

I would also like to thank my beautiful wife, Shannon. I have been coaching now for eighteen+ years, fifteen while with Shannon, and within those years my family has made (and continues make) a lot of sacrifices for my profession. And I don’t think it is a big surprise for you to read that coaching is not exactly on the highway to riches. Couple that with the fact that I worked with Suzanne this past year free of charge, and you can understand why I am thanking Shannon. She has always been, and always will be my greatest supporter.

So, the ground rules.

What can you expect these next few weeks?

  1. I will try to refer to this as a blog the least amount of times as humanly possible. Strange word, BLOG.
  2. We will ‘jazz up’ this site a bit more. And when I say we, I mean the guys who actually know how to do it.
  3. I will keep you as up-to-date as possible. Right now, I’ll write, and share some pictures. Once in London, we’ll add as much video as we can.
  4. I will throw in as many references as I can… movies, books, anything. Look kids, Big Ben, Parliament.
  5. I will not use ‘across the pond’ when I talk about the plane trip. Nor, while there, will I use Mate, Cheers, Cheerio, or Crikey.
  6. I will give a shout-out to my hometown of Reading, PA… where dreams come true.
  7. I will use this opportunity to persuade McDaniel College to purchase tickets for me and my wife to do some reporting from some other events, like the closing ceremonies.

What can I expect from you?

  1. Absolutely no criticizing the writing. This includes pointing out grammatical errors.
  2. I would like to see the Red, White, and Blue color scheme begin to share some space in your closet with the Green and Gold of McDaniel.
  3. When walking through campus, instead of hearing the steady stream of ‘Here we go, McDaniel, here we go’, I would like to hear a few more ‘U-S-A, U-S-A’ cheers.
  4. After reading these posts, throw up a facebook thumbs-up, retweet it, digg-it, or use any other new-wave, social media tool to keep this growing.
  5. Questions. Send me some questions, and I will post, along with an answer to the next entry.

 

So that is it for now. The next entry I will go into the history of the sport, as well as the fundraising efforts needed to get Suzanne’s family, and coaches to London to see her compete.

 

High Fives are Good,

Jeff

jhiestand@mcdaniel.edu

@McDanielSwim on twitter