Olympic Champion Kyle Chalmers Undergoes 3rd Heart Surgery

Just weeks after taking silver in the men’s 100m freestyle at the 2019 FINA World Aquatics Championships, 21-year-old Kyle Chalmers of Australia is undergoing another heart surgery to address his condition called Supraventricular Tachycardia (SVT).

The symptoms of this heart condition, from which American breaststroking icon Rebecca Soni, as well as Aussie freestyle ace Jack Cartwright also suffers, include rapid heartbeat, shortness of breath, a pounding sensation in the neck and fainting. (Mayo Clinic)

“3rd time lucky 🙏 fingers crossed today’s heart surgery fixed the problem once and for all. Thanks again everyone for the love and support,” is what Chalmers posted on Instagram today, August 26th.

Chalmers underwent surgery in 2017, which kept him out of that year’s World Championships and made his racing return at that year’s South Australian Division I meet.

It didn’t take long for the freestyling dynamo to bring his performances back up to speed, reaping 4 golds at the 2018 Commonwealth Games. He followed that up by taking 3 national titles at this year’s Australian National Championships and topped off his season with 4 medals, including the aforementioned 100m freestyle silver, in Gwangju at the 2019 World Championships.

It’s not known how long Chalmers will be out of the pool or if there will be any after-effects heading into Tokyo. But if his rebound from previous surgeries is any indication, Chalmers will be back to his speedy ways in no time.


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2 years ago

Holy crap

2 years ago

Oh no. Well hopefully all is well for him and his condition is fixed. It’s still so sad to see such a talent be once again held back by such an invasive surgery. After 2017 it took him a while to get back to the level he was at this year, and with this it seems like it would take a miracle for him to be in the right shape for the Olympics.

I hope he sticks with the sport. Between the second huge setback, already reaching the pinnacle of the sport (Olympic gold In the marquee event in swimming), and the public fact that he has more passion for aussie rules than he does for swimmimg, it is easy… Read more »

Reply to  IM FAN
2 years ago

Is the Aussies rules another word for being a lawyer or something

Reply to  Virtus
2 years ago

It’s a form of football

Reply to  Samesame
2 years ago

A terrible one, but then I’m from Sydney.

2 years ago

They do this through an arterial catheter right? Like it’s not open heart surgery?

Sun's Syringe
Reply to  Harambe
2 years ago

Considering he has no major scaring on his chest, I believe that is how they do it.

Reply to  Harambe
2 years ago

It’s as invasive as having a large IV in the wrist, but certainly has risks associated with the procedure as the catheter advances to the heart chamber where his arrhythmia originates

Reply to  Harambe
2 years ago

Yes, it is a bit of a stretch to call it surgery in my opinion. There aren’t any knives involved.

A lot of masters swimmers and cyclists wind up getting this procedure (ablation) One guy on my masters team has had it done a bunch of times (5 maybe, can’t quite recall).

But I hope Kyle can recover quickly and be in top form next year. If he and Dressel are both at their best that 100 free race should be epic.

Reply to  bigNowhere
2 years ago

It depends on the situation. My mother has had multiple ablations done without general anesthesia, only a local anesthetic. This was due to the heart arrythmia only occurring when she was awake. Said it felt like her heart was being burned for hours. Not suggesting that this is common or that Kyle’s is like this, but rather that just because no knives are used doesn’t mean it isn’t a serious surgery.

Swim Mom
Reply to  Harambe
2 years ago

Invasive certainly…. but much easier recovery than having your sternum split open. He could be back in the eater in a week or two…. open heart surgery would cost his months.

Reply to  Harambe
3 months ago

Correct. I’ve had it done and it’s a catheter up the leg to the heart and burn a couple of place either with heat or cold.

2 years ago

Get well soon, hopefully a speedy recovery.

2 years ago

They do this with a catheter I have WPW and have had two ablations over the course of my life. It’s a pesky condition which is similar to SVT.

Reply to  SWMIN
3 months ago

I’ve had it done too for Atrial Fibrillation. Only once though. It’s certainly a very frustrating condition and doesn’t feel great when it hits!

2 years ago

It will be a real shame if he misses Tokyo because of this. Hoping as well that it doesn’t mean the end of his swimming career because he has said in the past after Tokyo he would turn to Aussie rules football.

Reply to  Jeff
2 years ago

Also, will he get replaced on London Roar?

Coach Mike 1952
2 years ago

He is a gentleman & a champion, with a great attitude. Best to you Kyle & wishing you a full & speedy recovery.

2 years ago

In 2017 I think it took maybe 18 months for him to be at the level he showed in Rio16. This is very unfortunate because after Gwangju he was the only one who could stop Dressel. I’m a fan of both of them and I tough we would get 2 guys under the WR in 100fr. I can see dressel winning easly now. I hope chalmers at least gets a medal so that is motivated enough to stick at least until Paris24

Reply to  GrameziPt
2 years ago

The battle between them at the WC was so highly anticipated, and lived up to the hype..it would be sad for them and swimming if we didn’t get a repeat next year.
I get a feeling he will be back soon….

About Retta Race

Retta Race

Swim analyst, businesswoman.

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