Two former Spartan rowers are getting ready for Rio. That includes Eaton Rapids native Christie Daiss, who qualified as a medical professional.
Like the majority of collegiate rowers, Daiss had never stepped foot in a boat before arriving on campus in East Lansing in 2002.
"I played basketball and track and was kind of recruited out of high school when they send out flyers looking for girls who are tall and athletic," she said. "I just decided to give it a try and I fell in love with it."
Daiss was part of the Spartan crews that were Big Ten champions for the first time ever in 2005, as well as their best NCAA result in 2006. A decade later, she's a pharmacist at the Michigan State Clinical Center, but still finds time to hit the water. And in August, she'll bring her medical expertise to athlete village in Rio for the Summer Olympics.
"The athletes come in and are seeing different healthcare professionals and they might be filtered down to the pharmacy so we can fill their prescriptions and answer any drug information questions for them. I really wanted to find a way to unite my career field with the sports angle and so i was just really excited to go to the Olympics and serve the athletes."
It was a lengthy selection process- one that doesn't accept everyone. Michigan State rowing coach Matt Weise isn't at all surpised by her success.
"(she's) a perfect example of what rowers can do," Weise, who will enter his 12th year as head coach, said. "Hard worker, always looking out for others. Academically, she's very good. I think rowing does bring out the best, and sometimes the worst in people, but the best as far as they do have to learn to be selfless. They have to learn to work in a way that helps others and so from a medical side of things, it's a perfect fit for her."
Even though she'll be working hard, Daiss is excited for the "time off" from her day job.
"I am using my vacation time," Daiss laughed, "but I saved up enough and gave them enough notice and they're excited for me as well."