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,



@McDanielSwim on twitter

5 thoughts on “Let’s get this rolling

  1. Good Luck to Suzanne! What an accomplishment!!
    Have a great time with Shannon and enjoy the beverages.
    We’ll be watching with our red, white and blue.
    Since you won’t be using Cheers, how about Peace out!

  2. Looking forward to reading this! I worked with Shannon in the ED (love her!) and growing up, my daughters competed in various United States Pony Club events with the Suzanne and her siblings.

  3. Jeff — CONGRATULATIONS!!! I am so very, very proud of you and ALL that you have accomplished! We are already planning an Opening Ceremonies party at the house and will be cheering Suzanne (and you) on, throughout the games. Be sure to know we will keep up with your travels through the blog and wish you, Suzanne and Shannon a safe, and AMAZING, journey. All the best and all our love!

  4. I knew I saw a good thing! Who would have thought? Yellow fingernail polish and bleached hair. You two are so good for each other.

    Linda Sue

  5. I will be watching! I hope Suzanne has on her green and GOLD; it would be great to mention McDaniel College a few times for all the world to hear too. Congratulations and much continued success especially in August!

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