Greg Rhodenbaugh, following very much the model of what he was a part of at Arizona, continues to fill out his Missouri coaching staff with really great former swimmers.
Last year, it was Julie Stupp and Mark Gangloff. This year, he has added former Texas A&M All-American Kristen Heiss to his staff as a full-time assistant, he announced today.
Heiss’ most recent time has been spent as an assistant in Caper, Wyoming, before which she was also an assistant of the Bozeman Barracudas in Montana since graduating from college in 2010.
She was the 2007 Big 12 Conference Swimmer of the Year, a multiple-time member of the U.S. National Team, a World University Games triple medalist in 2009, and one of the most nails-tough swimmers of her generation.
In 2008, after finishing her junior year of college, Heiss was gearing up for the Olympic Trials. What most didn’t know at the time was that she had a bad shoulder injury that would cost her the 2008-2009 collegiate season.
As if that wasn’t enough, two weeks before the Olympic Trials, Heiss was hospitalized with blood clots in her lungs, and was ordered out of the pool for three months. That’s not an ideal way to start ones final taper.
By the time she was released, though, she was cleared to start swimming again, and two weeks after being admitted to the hospital for a five day stay, she became only the second swimmer in A&M history to make the final at U.S. Trials, finishing 4th in the 200 backstroke. And remember that’s all with a bad shoulder, too.
She fits in a category with the Lauren Perdues and Kelsey Floyds of the world: swimmers who are so passionate about the sport that even incredibly serious, even life-threatening, medical problems weren’t able to keep them away from the water for their ‘once in a lifetime’ chances.
Heiss completed her Masters Degree in real estate finance at Texas A&M in 2010 while taking advantage of her 5th, redshirt year.