USA Swimming Foundation names Debbie Hesse executive director


COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – The USA Swimming Foundation  today announced that current USA Diving President and CEO Debbie Hesse will be named Executive Director of the USA Swimming Foundation, effective November 15, 2010. As the Foundation’s Executive Director, Hesse will lead the Foundation staff and will work extensively on the Foundation’s national child-focused, water-safety initiative, Make a Splash, and on raising funds to support the U.S. National Team.
“Debbie brings incredible character, stature and expertise to the USA Swimming Foundation,” said USA Swimming Executive Director Chuck Wielgus, “She brings an impressive record of success in so many areas, and I could not ask for a more qualified, enthusiastic and dedicated individual to lead the USA Swimming Foundation as it continues to grow and reach communities across the nation.”
Hesse will be charged with advancing the Foundation’s mission to expand the sport of swimming. She will focus on growing its annual fund campaign, endowment and promotional programs including the Make a Splash initiative, and will work to raise funds to support the U.S. National Team. Hesse will also work extensively on the Golden Goggle Awards, the red-carpet event which honors the best performances in American Swimming each year.
Hesse, who will join USA Swimming from USA Diving, brings 25 years of experience in fundraising, marketing, strategic planning, public relations, non-profit management and volunteer leadership.  In her time at USA Diving, membership increased by 21 percent and the organization more than doubled sponsorship and broadcast revenues, including signing the largest sponsorship agreement in its history. In the pool, USA Diving saw a resurgence in international success, earning the best results since the 1980s.
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.
Hesse previously served as president/CEO of Special Olympics Indiana where she led fundraising efforts and strategic planning, which included launching a new marketing and brand identity as well as several online initiatives.
As a competitive swimmer, Hesse competed for Texas A&M where she co-captained the swim team.
Debbie is married to Mark Hesse, an aquatics director and swimming coach. She and Mark have two daughters – Gabriella (11) and Hannah (8).