Grad realizes dream of competing in Olympics

McDaniel College alumnae and Olympic Pentathlete Suzanne Stettinius '11 swimming in the Harlow Pool.
August 15, 2012

Suzanne Stettinius ’11 placed 28th in a field of 36 competing in the Modern Pentathlon at the Summer Games in London.

While the 24-year-old business administration major from Parkton, Md., competed in swimming, fencing, equestrian, running and shooting events for the U.S. Modern Pentathlon team, her McDaniel swim coach, Jeff Hiestand, was in London, thanks to funds raised by the Olympian’s parents, Willie and Avis Stettinius.

“If it wasn’t for the swim team at McDaniel, Suzanne wouldn’t be at the Olympics,” said Willie Stettinius.

Stettinius trained and competed with the Green Terror swim team and, since graduating, she focused 100-percent on training in the five sports. She said competing in front of a crowd of 25,000 in the stadium at Greenwich Park was “pretty incredible,” according to the U.S.A. Modern Pentathlon website.

“Every time you entered the stadium the crowd was just roaring," said Stettinius. "I've never competed before a crowd that large.”

Over the past year, Hiestand volunteered his time to help Stettinius qualify as one of only three pentathletes representing the U.S., as have most of her other coaches, who will also be rooting for her in London. iestand wrote a blog about the experience. In one entry, he explained why McDaniel is a winning formula for many athletes.

“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?’”

Also, he joked, “We keep magic water in our pool.”

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