2022 Australian Trials: Pallister Discusses Heart Surgery & Eating Disorder


On day 4 of the 2022 Australian Swimming Championships, Lani Pallister continued her crusade in Adelaide by winning the women’s 1500 freestyle in a 15:55.40. That swim is well under the FINA A cut of 16:29.57 and made her the only woman in the field under 16 minutes.

This meet is a comeback of sorts for Pallister who faced a minor setback in the summer of 2021 when she didn’t qualify for the Australian Olympic squad. Pallister recently gave an interview to The Sydney Morning Herald where she discussed the health concerns that impacted her swimming.

Pallister was diagnosed last year with supraventricular tachycardia (SVT), the same condition that Kyle Chalmers suffered from before undergoing three surgeries. Pallister underwent successful surgery for her condition, but in the wake of the operation, she developed an eating disorder.

“In March, I was diagnosed with SVT, so I had a cardiac ablation. That was the start of a snowball effect. I stopped eating in pursuit of trying to be skinny instead of fit and strong, like the majority of athletes are,” Pallister told the Herald.

Pallister’s eating disorder impacted her swimming and she said recounted last year as the “worst year of her life.” Pallister said that she is now back and better than ever, having received support from coaches Michael Bohl and Janelle Pallister (her mother and an Olympian), and training partner Emily Seebohm, along with professional help.

“Back and better than ever” certainly describes Pallister’s racing thus far at the 2022 Australian Swimming Championships. Her first swim of the meet was the 800 freestyle on day 1 and she won that event with an 8:17.77.

She followed that swim up with a 6th place finish in the 200 freestyle, notching a 1:56.28, and most recently, picked up another national title in the 1500 freestyle by swimming her 15:55.40 PB. In her last race of the meet, she swam a 4:02.21 to place second in the 400 freestyle behind world record-breaker Ariarne Titmus (3:56.40).

Pallister undercut her best times in all 4 of her events, beating the times she set back in 2019. Pallister won gold in the 400, 800, and 1500 freestyles at the 2019 World Junior Swimming Championships and silver in the 200 freestyle. She also contributed to the silver medals that Australia won in the 4×100 and 4×200 freestyles at that meet.

2022 Australian Trials Former PB
200 freestyle 1:56.28 1:58.09 (2019)
400 freestyle 4:02.21 4:05.42
800 freestyle 8:17.77 8:22.49 (2019)
1500 freestyle 15:55.40 15:58.86 (2019)

3 years after the World Championships in Budapest, Pallister will be heading back to Hungary to race for Australia. Pallister will be an important part of Australia’s squad considering the absence of Olympic champion Ariarne Titmus who is opting out of Worlds this summer.

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1 month ago

Queen Lani. So inspirational

Miss M
1 month ago

Lani hinted at the ED issues in a podcast last year … I think it was on the Off the blocks spin off OTB Crew.

Was great to see her fit and healthy and swimming so well this week. Brave to speak up too. Hopefully will encourage others who are struggling to speak out and get help.

1 month ago

The issue of eating disorders among female swimmers in AUS has now been publicly and courageously raised at least by Cate Campbell, Emily Seebohm, Dr. Jenny McMahon, and Lani Pallister. It’s time for Swim AUS to address this issue and its growing chorus, especially in light of the reported findings of the recent Independent Commission report–the full text of which Swim AUS has refused to release. 

Reply to  Swamm
1 month ago

And Madi Wilson

Reply to  Monteswim
1 month ago

And Maddie Groves

Reply to  Swamm
1 month ago

That’s literally what they’re doing

1 month ago

Kiah Melverton swam very well also, not quite at her best due to illness

1 month ago

I had no idea about any of that. So good to see her at her best again. Well I guess it’s not ‘again’ because her new best is better than her old best. Hope she smokes the World Champs!