Elizabeth Punsalan

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Elizabeth Punsalan
Punsalan swallow.jpg
Punsalan and Swallow in 2002.
Personal information
Alternative names Elizabeth Swallow
Country represented  United States
Born (1971-01-09) January 9, 1971 (age 46)
Syracuse, New York
Height 1.65 m (5 ft 5 in)
Former partner Jerod Swallow
Christopher Rettstatt
Former coach Igor Shpilband
Sandy Hess
Former choreographer Igor Shpilband
Skating club Detroit Skating Club
Former skating club Broadmoor Skating Club
Retired 1998

Elizabeth Punsalan or Swallow (January 9, 1971) is an American ice dancer. With her partner and husband Jerod Swallow, she is a five-time U.S. national champion, two-time Skate America champion, and competed twice in the Winter Olympics.

Personal life[edit]

Elizabeth Punsalan was born January 9, 1971 in Syracuse, New York.[1] Her father, Ernesto, moved from the Philippines to the United States as a medical student and became a surgeon.[2] She married Jerod Swallow in September 1993.[2] Her younger brother, Ricky, was charged in the death of their father, fatally stabbed on February 4, 1994,[2] but was found mentally unfit to stand trial.[3]


Early in her career, Punsalan competed with Christopher Rettstatt. They placed 8th at the 1989 U.S. Championships.

Punsalan began skating with Swallow in mid-1989. They were initially coached by Sandy Hess in Colorado Springs, Colorado.[4] They placed 7th at 1989 Skate America and 5th at the 1990 U.S. Championships. The following season, they won their first U.S. national title. They were one of the favorites for the 1992 Olympic team but at the 1992 U.S. Championships, Swallow fell during the free dance and they finished in third.[2] Swallow was ready to leave competition for show skating but she persuaded him to continue.[2]

In 1992, Punsalan/Swallow began working with Igor Shpilband for choreography in Detroit. By the 1993–94 season, he had become their head coach.[4] The couple developed a rivalry with Renee Roca / Gorsha Sur, who had earlier choreographed a program for them and trained alongside them.[3] The U.S. had a single berth to the ice dancing event at the 1994 Winter Olympics. Punsalan and Swallow were involved in a letter-writing campaign to Congress to prevent Sur from receiving expedited citizenship, which would allow him to compete at the 1994 Olympics.[3][5] At the U.S. Championships in January 1994, Punsalan/Swallow placed first in the original dance, ahead of their injured rivals in second.[6] Roca/Sur withdrew before the free dance and Punsalan/Swallow went on to win their second national title and were named to the Olympic team. They competed at the 1994 Olympics only two weeks after her father's death, finishing 15th.

Punsalan/Swallow won silver at the 1995 U.S. Championships behind Roca and Sur but finished ahead of them the following year to take their third national title.[7] Punsalan/Swallow won another two national titles at the 1997 and 1998 U.S. Championships. They placed 7th at the 1998 Winter Olympics and 6th at the 1998 World Championships.

Punsalan/Swallow ended their eligible career in 1998 and continued to skate in shows for a number of years. Punsalan became a coach at the Detroit Skating Club in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan.[8]


(with Jerod Swallow)

Event 1989–90 1990–91 1991–92 1992–93 1993–94 1994–95 1995–96 1996–97 1997–98
Winter Olympics 15th 7th
World Champ. 11th 12th 7th 6th 6th
GP Final 6th
GP Cup of Russia 3rd
GP Lalique 2nd 2nd 2nd
GP NHK Trophy 6th 5th
GP Skate America 7th 4th 3rd 1st 4th 1st
GP Skate Canada 2nd
U.S. Champ. 5th 1st 3rd 3rd 1st 2nd 1st 1st 1st
GP = Champions Series (Grand Prix)

(with Christopher Rettstatt)

Event 1988–89
U.S. Championships 8th


  1. ^ "Elizabeth Punsalan". Sports Reference. Retrieved September 6, 2011. 
  2. ^ a b c d e Pucin, Diane (February 18, 1994). "Liz Punsalan Ice Dances Her Way Through Grief And Anger Two Weeks Ago, Her Brother Was Charged In Her Father's Stabbing Death. Being On The Ice Helps Her Smile Through The Tears.". The Philadelphia Inquirer. Retrieved September 6, 2011. 
  3. ^ a b c Blount, Terry (February 17, 1995). "Latest skating controversy will be detailed on ABC". Houston Chronicle. Retrieved September 7, 2011. 
  4. ^ a b Rosewater, Amy (May 24, 2011). "Shpilband, Zoueva at forefront of dance revolution". IceNetwork. Retrieved June 18, 2011. 
  5. ^ Kent, Milton (February 16, 1995). "Skating squabble plays to soap opera background". The Baltimore Sun. Retrieved September 7, 2011. 
  6. ^ Longman, Jere (January 6, 1994). "OLYMPICS; Roca, Ice Dancer, Breaks Arm But Comes Back to Skate On". The New York Times. Retrieved September 7, 2011. 
  7. ^ Harvey, Randy (January 20, 1996). "Punsalan, Swallow Win Dance Title". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved September 7, 2011. 
  8. ^ Rutherford, Lynn (July 27, 2011). "Hubbell, Donohue hope to put a spell on judges". icenetwork. Retrieved July 27, 2011.