2012 Olympic Gold Medalist Tyler Clary to Undergo Open Heart Surgery

2012 Olympic Champion Tyler Clary will undergo open heart surgery Friday, August 6. 

Clary made the announcement on his Instagram account, explaining the reasoning behind the surgery. According to Clary’s post, he suffers from a “very leaky aortic valve”, which has caused his heart to operate at less than 70% efficiency for his entire life. The discovery was only made last October during Clary’s physical.

Clary, now 32-years-old, was the 2012 Olympic gold medalist in the 200 backstroke. Up until last week, his winning time of 1:53.41 stood as the Olympic record in the event.  Russian Evgeny Rylov just took down Clary’s record in Tokyo with his own gold medal performance. At the 2012 Games, Clary also contested the 200 butterfly, coming in 5th overall with a time of 1:55.06.

Clary retired from competitive swimming in 2016 after placing third at the US Olympic Trials, failing to qualify for his second Olympic Games. After his retirement, Clary was planning to join NASCAR racing, originally targeting the Monster Energy Cup Series, which is set to kick-off this year. However, he is currently working at Northwest Mutual as an insurance representative. 

According to healthcare company Lifespan, approximately 500,000 Americans undergo some form of open heart surgery every year. 

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Aussie Crawl
1 month ago

Sending prayers to you Tyler and
The surgeons.
Have a speedy recovery. 🙏🙏

ACC
1 month ago

Pretty crazy that someone with a less-than-fully functioning heart went a 4:06 in a 4 IM! I got to see him train once, he was going head-to-head with Connor Jaeger in a distance set. Hope he has a smooth surgery and a quick recovery!

Tomek
Reply to  ACC
1 month ago

What’s even more amazing to me is that his condition was no discovered earlier…I would expect that elite athlete such as Tyler would undergo cardiac stress test.

PhillyMark
1 month ago

Looks like he is having surgery @ UPenn…great cardiothoracic surgeons there. Best wishes to speedy recovery!

Mark Usher
1 month ago

Best wishes to Tyler. I had my aortic valve replaced 20 years ago at age 47 and still lead an active life with no restrictions. I’m sure he will be back at it soon.

Philip Johnson
1 month ago

Huge fan of Clary, who often finished 2nd to Lochte but got his revenge in London. Best of luck and wish you a speedy recovery!

Marklewis
1 month ago

His heart compensated by enlarging his left ventricle.

If his doctors were astute enough to find this problem, then they probably know how to fix it. They will either repair or replace the leaky valve.

Best wishes to Tyler on his recovery. It is amazing that he was an Olympic champion with a heart with a leaky valve.

Last edited 1 month ago by Marklewis
Penguin
1 month ago

How many people have gone 1:53 in the 200 fly and 200 back?

Penguin
Reply to  Penguin
1 month ago

Wishing the best for him. Open heart surgery can be scary, though it has gotten so much safer in recent years.

There's no doubt that he's tightening up
Reply to  Penguin
1 month ago

Considering that the complete list of sub 1:54 swimmers in back is Piersol, Irie, Lochte, Larkin, Rylov, Clary, Murphy, Xu, we can safely say that Clary is the only one.

Phelps is the only one close with a 1:54.6 200 back from 2007.

Philip Johnson
Reply to  Penguin
1 month ago

I can’t think of any off the top of my head.

Tea rex
Reply to  Penguin
1 month ago

Unless I am mistaken, only one.

Swimlikefishdrinklikefish
Reply to  Penguin
1 month ago

Phelps could have

Ol' Longhorn
Reply to  Swimlikefishdrinklikefish
1 month ago

But he didn’t. He made the 200 back Olympic team and dropped it. He did a 1:55.86.

Idc
1 month ago

I can’t with the picture y’all chose it’s making eye contact with me

612
Reply to  Idc
1 month ago

So there’s this hot dog GIF….

About Nicole Miller

Nicole Miller

Nicole has been with SwimSwam since April 2020, as both a reporter and social media contributor. Prior to joining the SwimSwam platform, Nicole also managed a successful Instagram platform, amassing over 20,000 followers. Currently, Nicole is pursuing her B.S. in Biomedical Engineering at Worcester Polytechnic Institute, where she is an active …

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