USA Curling adds Olympians to HPP staff

By Terry Kolesar | July 01, 2014, 12 a.m. (ET)
July 1, 2014

USA Curling High Performance Program adds Olympians to staff

(STEVENS POINT, Wis.) - Olympians Ann Swisshelm (Chicago) and Pete Fenson (Bemidji, Minn.) have been added to USA Curling's High Performance Program (HPP) national coaching staff.  

2006 Olympic bronze medalist Fenson and Swisshelm-a two-time Olympian and 2003 world champion-both recently retired from elite-level curling competition. They will fill the coaching vacancies left by Scott Baird (Bemidji, Minn.) and Al Hackner (Thunder Bay, Ontario), who stepped down from day-to-day coaching duties after the 2013-14 season.

"I am delighted to add to Pete and Ann to the national coaching team," said Derek Brown, USA Curling's director of high performance.  "These are two of our most decorated athletes who have been competing at the highest level for over 20 years, and have a combined 13 world championships and three Olympic Games appearances. Pete and Ann have both coached junior teams and have also coached at a number of USA Curling High Performance camps. They will be a fantastic addition to the coaching team, and I am looking forward to working with them."

Fenson and Swisshelm join fellow HPP coaches John Benton (St. Michael, Minn.) and Phill Drobnick (Eveleth, Minn.) as part of the new National Coaching Team to work under the direction of Brown. Two more coaching positions remain to be filled.

The National Coaching Team's first role will to be to assess and select the High Performance athletes and teams for the 2014-15 season, part of which will include USA Curling's first Combine, which takes place later this month. 

Fenson, 46, is the only skip to date to lead the USA to an Olympic medal-bronze, in 2006. He has won eight men's national titles, most recently in 2014. He was named USA Curling's Athlete of the Year three times (2011, 2005 and 2003) as well as the United States Olympic Committee's Team of the Year in 2006 after winning the bronze medal in Torino, Italy. A graduate of Bemidji State University, Fenson owns and operates Dave's Pizza in Bemidji with his wife and two sons. 

Swisshelm, 46, most recently represented the U.S. at the 2014 Olympic Winter Games and also was a member of the 2002 Olympic team. She was a member of the only U.S. team to win a gold medal at the women's world championship as a member of the Debbie McCormick rink in 2003. In addition, Swisshelm won five U.S. national women's titles, most recently in 2013. She was USA Curling's Athlete of the Year in 2001 and a member of two teams that won Team of the Year (2013, 2003). Swisshelm was honored with the World Curling Federation's Frances Brodie Sportsmanship Award at the 2001 World Women's Championship as well as USA Curling's Ann Brown Sportsmanship Award in 2008 at the U.S. National Championships. She competed in 19 straight women's national championships, advancing to the playoffs in nearly every appearance. Swisshelm is a theatre graduate from Drake University and resides in Chicago with her husband, Sean Silver. 

USA Curling is sponsored by AtomAmpd, Nike, Brooms Up Curling Supplies, Sitrin, The RAM Restaurant & Brewery, and BalancePlus, and is partnered with Hilton HHonors, United Airlines, RJM Licensing Inc., and CurlingZone.


For more information: Terry Kolesar, Director of Communications,, 715-344-1199 (office) or 608-338-9900 (mobile).