"Even though I'm listed as Suzanne's swimming coach, I won't be an Olympic coach there," said Hiestand, a father of four who will travel to London on Aug. 9 with his wife, Shannon. "The United States pentathlon team already has a staff of three coaches in place.
"Still, I can't believe I'm going," he said. "From my standpoint, it's always nice to be recognized. But this is really Suzanne's party."
Logistically, the pre-Olympic training wasn't an easy task for Hiestand, who had to balance Stettinius' swimming schedule with those of the other sports.
"When I wrote her workouts and then watched her practice, I always had to think a step ahead," Hiestand said. "Her next workout wasn't necessarily going to be with me in the pool, because she might be coming from or going to fencing or running. I constantly managed where she was, whether she might be fatigued, and whether we might save her legs for the running workouts."
Hiestand understood that he was dealing with a very determined athlete.
"Not many Division III athletes go on to the Olympics," said Hiestand, a 1993 UMBC graduate who was a distance freestyle swimmer for the Retrievers.
"She was always willing to do what needed to be done. Suzanne understood that whatever level of success she achieved was going to come from hard work," he said. "If she made a mistake, she was on top of it before I could even say anything. At that level in any sport, you're going to find athletes who are not willing to accept defeat or failure, and will just keep pushing."
While he didn't make any Olympic predictions, Hiestand admitted he wouldn't be surprised if Stettinius was in medal contention.
"The best pentathletes are the ones that are above average in all five — but not necessarily No. 1 — in any of the individual events," he said. "I think Suzanne has that potential (to win). She just needs to keep herself within each sport as she's doing that sport, and then move on to the next one with a clear mind."
Hiestand hopes that the experience of coaching an Olympian isn't a once-in-a-lifetime thing for him.
He's also aware of the effect that Stettinius' status might have on younger swimmers in this area.
"If kids just see a name on paper or a swimmer on a TV screen, it doesn't make much of an impression," he said. "But a lot of the kids around here knew Suzanne, because they've seen her around.
"They can relate to her, and now (the Olympics) can become a goal down the road for them."