Overcoming heartache

CAMERON MAXWELL -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 7:10 AM ET

The last thing a high performance athlete thinks about is heart problems.

But long-track speed skater Justin Warsylewicz of Regina went for a regular checkup earlier this year and discovered his heart had an irregular electrical current, something called Wolff-Parkinson-White Syndrome.

It was quite a shock for the 19-year-old, who returned to competition this week for the Canada Post All Round Championships, where he finished second last night in the 5,000m at the Olympic Oval.

"It's not too serious but I've been up and down with it for the previous two months and it's been a bit of an emotional roller coaster," said the 2004 world junior champion as he cooled down on the exercise bike.

He didn't show any symptoms of WPW Syndrome until his doctor detected something while listening to his heart.

Warsylewicz has now been through two surgeries, where a catheter was wired into his heart.

He's beginning a three month waiting period which will determine if the problem has been fixed but he'll keep skating and competing during that time.

Meanwhile, Calgarian Arne Dankers set a Canadian record in the 5,000, finishing in a time of 6:26.19 seconds to win the event.

In the women's 3,000, Ottawa's Kristina Groves had a personal best time of 4:05.61 to win the race.


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