USA Swimming Staff Out and About


Because USA Swimming is a member-driven organization, the staff is often on the road meeting with coaches, athletes and other stakeholders. This past week, USA Swimming staff made appearances across the country from Washington to San Francisco.

Wielgus (small)Chuck Wielgus, Executive Director

Wielgus was asked to introduce the 2013 Olympic Torch Award recipient Dr. Evie Dennis at the United States Olympic and Paralympic Assembly held Oct. 11 in Colorado Springs, Colo. The Olympic Torch Award is given to an individual in recognition of outstanding service to the U.S. Olympic Movement.  

"It was a great surprise when Scott Blackmun (U.S. Olympic Committee CEO) asked me to assist with the presentation of the Olympic Torch Award to Dr. Evie Dennis,” said Wielgus. “I have known Evie since her days serving as President of USA Track & Field and being on the USOC Board of Directors. Beyond being one of the smartest people in the Olympic Movement, she has always been someone who cares deeply about athletes and the NGBs that make up the Olympic family."

Matt Farrell (@mattfarrell_), Chief Marketing Officer
Farrell caught a flight to San Francisco earlier this week and was part of a panel at the Advertising Age CMO Strategy Summit on Oct. 16. During the panel titled “Nonprofits on Cause Marketing” Farrell had a few key takeaways from the discussion.

Three Keys for Companies:

  1. Be Authentic.  Non-profits are about stories, inspiration and people.
  2. Leverage the Affinity. The sports industry is cluttered. USA Swimming has found that 74% of our members are more likely to purchase our sponsor's products. You don't get that type of return with a :30 spot in the middle of SportsCenter.
  3. Dare to be Different. We aren't a logo slap. Engage your marketing & PR team, multicultural, employee morale, etc., and find different ways to activate around a brand.

The Ad Age CMO Strategy Summit gathered CMOs from some of the top companies in the country including CVS, Caribou Coffee, Denny’s, Taco Bell, Hershey’s, Hillshire Brands and more to discuss emerging trends in the industry.  

For more insights into sports marketing, check out his blog, Sports Marketing Lab.

Susan Woessner (small)Susan Woessner, Director of Safe Sport
In a span of six days, Woessner was a member of three separate panel discussions. On Oct. 9 she discussed the importance of creating a culture of disclosure at the NGB Best Practices Seminar in Colorado Springs, Colo. A day later she participated in the USA Volleyball Safe Sport Seminar in Denver. At the seminar, she talked about the foundation of the USA Swimming Safe Sport program and the things she learned as the program has developed. Woessner’s final panel discussion was at the Boy Scouts of America National Youth Protection Symposium on Oct. 14 in Dallas. She addressed some of the challenges regarding child protection facing youth serving organizations, while also highlighting the strengths of the program and some of the potential obstacles.

“Abuse prevention is a collaborative effort and the more youth-serving organizations can work together to address these issues the better for the movement,” said Woessner. “I’m thrilled to represent USA Swimming as we continue the conversation.”

Debbie Hesse, USA Swimming Foundation Executive Director

Hesse returned to her alma mater, Texas A&M University, to speak at the inaugural Leadership Conference and Women’s Athletic Reception held on Oct. 17 in College Station, Texas. Her speech, “What Our Foothold Has Done for Us,” talked about the evolution of Title IX and how sport has manifested into opportunities for successful careers for women in the sports workplace. This marks the 50th anniversary of women's admittance and 40th anniversary of women's sports at Texas A&M. 

“I’m incredibly passionate about women in sport and their transition into the business field,” said Hesse. “It’s such an honor to be asked to come back to my alma mater and talk about something I care so deeply about.”

Frank Busch, National Team Director

Busch was in Chicago for a meeting with roughly 110 coaches on Oct. 13 before heading to Washington to talk with a small group of coaches on Oct. 17. He touched on a variety of topics, including rule changes, the importance of professionalism as coaches, and various swimming techniques used around the world.

“USA Swimming is a member organization, and it’s important to me that we service our members,” said Busch. “I enjoy traveling the country to talk with different coaches. It’s a way to hear what’s on their mind, I can answer any questions they might have, and they provide great, immediate feedback.”