2016 Olympic gold medalist Kyle Chalmers has undergone a successful heart surgery in Adelaide. Chalmers underwent surgery to treat a condition called Supraventricular Tachycardia with which he was diagnosed as a child. The surgery will keep him out of this summer’s World Championships in Budapest.
Chalmers underwent a procedure called a catheter ablation, where doctors “use energy to make small scars in your heart tissue to prevent abnormal electrical signals from moving through your heart,” according to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. Supraventricular Tachycardia is an abnormally fast hear rate caused by abnormal electrical activity in the heart’s upper areas.
Chalmers, who is just 18-years old, almost underwent the same procedure two years ago, before his Olympic victory last summer, but doctors were unable to trigger the arrhythmia, according to The Australian. The condition didn’t flare in his Olympic preparations, but after Rio has interrupted his training and competition schedule on multiple occasions. He was beaten by countrymate Cam McEvoy, who has a better time in the event, at Australia’s National Championship meet in April.
His coach, Peter Bishop, says that Chalmers should be able to return training in 2 weeks and will be ready to race by late August.
Chalmers, the son of an AFL player who has towered over his competition since he was a young boy, is the youngest swimmer to have ever gone under 49 seconds in the 100 long course meter freestyle, and ended a 48-year Olympic gold medal drought for Australia in Rio. At 18 years, 1 month, and 16 days he was also the third-youngest swimmer to ever win this event at the Olympics, and the youngest since the 1980 Olympics, where Jörg Woithe won at 17 years old (without much of the world’s elite swimmers in attendance).
A Tweet from Chalmers’ Instagram account posted on Monday reads “Double thumbs up because this time my heart surgery was successful! Thank you for all of the support #blessed”