Kyle Chalmers after undergoing his third round of heart surgery. Picture: Instagram
Kyle Chalmers after undergoing his third round of heart surgery. Picture: Instagram

Third heart surgery for Olympic swim champ

OLYMPIC swimming champion Kyle Chalmers is recovering in hospital after undergoing a third operation on his heart on Monday night.

Chalmers posted a photo of himself in his hospital bed on his Instagram account, saying: "3rd time lucky fingers crossed today's heart surgery fixed the problem once and for all. Thanks again everyone for the love and support."

The 21-year-old Chalmers suffers from supraventricular tachycardia, a non-life-threatening condition that makes his heart beat abnormally fast, sometimes as much as 200 times a minute, leaving him feeling dizzy and fatigued.

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Chalmers' latest bout of surgery prompted an outpouring of support from the who's who of the swimming world, including his great superstar American rival Caeleb Dressel.

He had his first operation a year before his stunning victory in the 100m freestyle gold medal at the 2016 Rio but was forced to withdraw from the 2017 world championships when the condition worsened in order to go under the knife again, believing the problem was solved for good.

Back to his best this year, Chalmers won four medals at last month's world championships in South Korea but was narrowly beating by Dressell in a super-fast 100m, before secretly returning to hospital for a third operation.

Kyle Chalmers takes the plunge.
Kyle Chalmers takes the plunge.

Fierce rivals in the pool but good friends out of the water, their next expected showdown is shaping as one of the most eagerly swimming races at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

Quick off the blocks, Dressell was among a host of top swimmers to send messages of support to Chalmers, posting: "you'll be back quick my boy, all the best."

British breaststroker Adam Peaty, who will team up with Chalmers in the London team for this year's inaugural International Swimming League, also reached out to Chalmers, posting: "All the best brother" while South African Chad le Clos sent a similar message: "Speedy recovery brother".