Foundation Staff

Debbie Hesse, Executive Director

Debbie Hesse joined the USA Swimming Foundation in November 2010, and has more than 30 years of aquatic sports experience in fundraising, marketing, strategic planning, public relations, non-profit management and volunteer leadership. 

Through Hesse’s leadership, revenues for the Foundation have increased on average 15% annually. Hesse has positioned the Foundation to be successful in achieving its aggressive fundraising objectives, and programming goals of teaching kids to swim and supporting the National Team.

Prior to joining the Foundation, Debbie was President/CEO of USA Diving, the national governing body for that sport.  During her tenure, she presided over a membership increase of 39 percent, and laid the foundation for a strong and successful U.S. diving program.  In 2012, the U.S. Olympic Diving Team garnered four medals at the Olympic Games, after failing to earn medals in either of their two previous Olympic efforts.

Hesse's Olympic experience also includes serving as Executive Director of USA Synchronized Swimming, where she increased the annual budget by more than 250% in seven years, driven primarily by dramatic corporate partner revenue growth.

After beginning her career at Procter & Gamble, Hesse went on to serve in several different roles within the aquatic industry.  Hesse has also served as President/CEO of Special Olympics Indiana.

Hesse received a B.A. in Business and Marketing from Texas A&M University, where she served as co-captain of the swim team.  She has a Certificate in Fund Raising Management from the IU School of Philanthropy. She has beenrecognized as one of Indianapolis “40 Under 40” honorees, and currently serves on the United States Olympic Committee’s Olympic Assembly Committee, the USOC’s Foundation's Leadership Committee and is the Executive Champion of USOC's Women'sNET Mentor Group for NGB and Olympic Committee staff.

  • Oversees day-to-day Foundation activities to advance the Foundation’s mission and objectives
  • Serves as national spokesperson for Foundation
  • Leads and manages Foundation staff and fundraising efforts
  • Creation and implementation of business plan for Foundation and Make a Splash
  • Coordinate's Foundation's programs, including Make a Splash, Swim-a-Thon and Golden Goggles

Hesse lives in Colorado Springs, CO, with her two daughters Gabriella and Hannah. To contact Debbie, click here.


Scott Usher, Director of Major Gifts

Scott Usher Headshot (Medium)

Scott Usher joined the USA Swimming Foundation in May 2016 as the Director of Major Gifts. Scott brings experience as a USA Swimming member and Olympian, swim coach for both club and collegiate levels, and development experience in major gifts, annual fundraising, database management, events and board management. Born and raised in Grand Island, Nebraska, he earned his bachelors from the University of Wyoming and his MS in Sport Studies from Miami University. During 2004-08 Scott qualified for the 04’ Olympics, and 04’ 05’ 06’ & 07’ World Championships. Recently, Scott served as the Assistant Director of Development, Major Gift Officer at Miami University.   

As the Director of Major Gifts, Scott plans and implements strategies for the Foundation’s major gifts program to increase donations at higher levels. He also contributes to other strategic fundraising initiatives including the annual fundraising plan, grant writing, sponsorship and events. 

Usher lives in Colorado Springs, CO, with his wife, Shannon, and son Grant. 

Email:  Phone: 719.866.3614


Tina Dessart, Make a Splash program director

Tina Dessart is the USA Swimming Foundation’s Make a Splash Program Manager. Tina is a 25+ yearTina Dessart (Small) veteran in aquatics management and learn-to-swim instruction who has also done both age group and Masters coaching. Tina is the owner and director of the Colorado Springs Swim School and has been active in the USA Swimming Foundation’s Make a Splash Initiative, participating as a Local Partner, since 2009. In addition to her swim school, Tina is co-owner of Swim Colorado, Inc, an aquatic facilities management company which saved three City of Colorado Springs aquatic facilities from closure.

As the Make a Splash Program Manager, Tina’s role is to provide strategic oversight, direction, creativity and coordination for the USA Swimming Foundation’s Make a Splash initiative and associated efforts.

Tina is responsible for building and fostering relationships which allow for collaborative efforts in support of water safety education and drowning prevention at the national level; these strategic partnerships provide resources, materials, and funding which aid the USA Swimming Foundation’s Make a Splash initiative in providing the opportunity for every child in America to learn to swim.

Tina is an Air Force Brat, and was a Division I distance and 400 IM swimmer at Bowling Green State University, OH where she earned her BA in Mathematics. Tina and her husband, Kevin, have lived in Colorado Springs since 2001 and have three children.


Email:   Phone: 719.866.3520



Nicole Wilson (small)Nicole Wilson serves as the Annual Fund Manager for the USA Swimming Foundation. She began swimming competitively at age seven and was involved with the sport both as an age-group coach and swimming instructor. Born and raised in Southern California, she earned her BS in Journalism from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo and her MA in English from Cal State Long Beach. Prior to coming to the USA Swimming Foundation, she worked in fundraising, event planning, and communications, most recently at UC Irvine and at the University of Michigan.  

As the Annual Fund Manager, Nicole works to craft and share the stories of the USA Swimming Foundation. She creates communication campaigns and events designed to increase awareness of, and support for, the foundation’s activities. As a new resident of Colorado, Nicole is looking forward to skiing, hiking, and exploring all the opportunities the state offers.Email:  Phone: 719.866.3583


Carol Arnold, foundation Projects Manager

A native of southern California’s San Gabriel Valley, Carol launched her post-education career after her move to Fort Collins, Colorado in 1979. Six years working as a Citicorp mortgage loan officer and two kids later, Carol Arnold Headshot (Small)became a mostly stay-at-home mom until returning to the workforce full time in 1999. Earning a securities license, she spent the next seven years working in the investment management industry before coming on board with the USA Swimming Foundation in January of 2007. Carol and her husband of 38 years enjoy spending their free time with their four young grandchildren, hiking, biking, kayaking and snowshoeing in the Gunnison River Valley of south-central Colorado.

  • Oversite and management of the USA Swimming Foundation's Swim-a-Thon fundraising program
  • Assistant to Executive Director
  • Planning, implementation and oversight of fundraising and donor cultivation events and activities
  • Coordination of Foundation Board activities and meetings.
  • Relationship and event manager for the U.S. National Team Alumni program.
  • Administration of the third-party fundraising program.
  • Management and oversite of USA Swimming Foundation's intellectual properties.
  • Research assistant for grant funding opportunities. 

Email:  Phone: 719.866.3235

Shweta shreyarthi, make a splash coordinator

Shweta “Shway” Shreyarthi joined the USA Swimming Foundation in August 2015 as the Make a Splash ProgramShweta Shreyarthi (Small) Coordinator. Shway’s passion for sports, exercise and all things of the like began when she made it to the USA Track and Field Junior Olympics for the 100 meter sprint at age seven. Her continued passion for running and exercising sparked her interest in Public Health. In 2013, Shway graduated from Syracuse University with a B.S. in Public Health. Through this major she was able to focus on the benefits of sports, youth programming and nutrition, which she was able to study in-depth abroad in Italy!

Shway comes to the USA Swimming Foundation after working in the Community Programs Department at Asphalt Green, a sports and fitness-based nonprofit in New York City, for 2 years. There, she helped bring sports and fitness programming to over 30,000 inner-city children, as well as managed Swim for the Future, a scholarship fund that gives talented children with financial need the chance to be a part of Manhattan’s premiere swim team, AGUA. Swim for the Future, along with Asphalt Green’s free learn-to-swim program, Waterproofing, furthered Shweta’s interest in bringing swim programming to children.

As the USA Swimming Foundation’s Make a Splash Program Coordinator she will continue to bring swim lessons and programming to children throughout the U.S.! In her free time, she loves spending time (outside!) with her gigantic family and group of friends, attending sporting events, traveling, shopping, baking and running.  

Email Shweta at  Phone: 719.866.3546


Jill Johnson, Foundation Coordinator

Jill Johnson serves as the Foundation Coordinator for the USA Swimming Foundation. Johnson administersJill Johnson (Small) and manages the Raiser's Edge database for the organization. She manages the overall donation process and is responsible for all entry, maintenance and extraction of data to ensure a high level of functionality within the organization. Serving as support for the Director of Development, Jill assists with the Foundation's annual fund campaign including direct mail, lists and reports. Prior to joining the Foundation, Jill worked as a database administrator for EnCana Oil & Gas. Johnson graduated from Metropolitan College of Denver with a Bachelor's degree in Applied Mathematics and a minor in Accounting. 

  • Constituent and Donor record management
  • Donations and Recurring Gift management 

Email:  Phone: 719.866.3587


Rowdy Gaines, foundation ambassador

  • Make a Splash Tour co-host
  • Donor development and cultivation
  • Golden Goggles weekend


Mel Stewart, national team alumni ambassador

  • Coordinate/co-host alumni engagement activities/Alumni Reunions
  • Create alumni newsletters
  • Create alumni copy for foundation e-newsletter
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