CU Buffs’ Cameron Swartz feels strong after taking care of heart issue

Cliff Grassmick / Staff Photographer
Colorado’s Cameron Swartz had a cardiac ablation procedure to destroy an extra fiber in her heart.

CU women’s basketball preview: Samford

MATCHUP: Samford Bulldogs (4-8) at Colorado Buffaloes (9-1)

GAME TIME: Thursday, 7 p.m., at CU Evens Center in Boulder

BROADCAST: Online — Cubuffs.com/watchwbb. Radio – KHOW 630 AM

COACHES: Colorado – JR Payne, 3rd season (41-33; 141-146 career). Samford – Mike Morris, 17th season (273-226)

KEY PLAYERS: Colorado — G Quinessa Caylao-Do, Jr., 9.5 ppg, 4.6 rpg; G/F Mya Hollingshed, So., 12.1 ppg, 7.4 rpg; G Kennedy Leonard, Sr., 15.0 ppg, 5.2 rpg, 7.3 apg, 3.2 spg; G Alexis Robinson, Sr., 8.4 ppg, 2.2 rpg; F Peanut Tuitele, Fr., 9.4 ppg, 5.8 rpg. Samford — C Natalie Armstrong, So., 8.7 ppg, 5.5 rpg; G Charity Brown, Jr., 6.8 ppg, 4.8 rpg, 5.3 apg; G Paige Serup, Jr., 7.8 ppg, 3.4 rpg

NOTABLE: CU has won three in a row, including 79-38 against Prairie View A&M in its last game, Dec. 12. … This is the fourth game of a seven-game home stand for the Buffs. … Samford won at Denver, 87-83 in overtime, on Wednesday to snap a three-game losing streak. … CU won the only other meeting between these teams, 71-60, at Samford on Nov. 10, 2017. … Leonard needs 10 assists to tie Bridget Turner’s CU career record of 612. Leonard has 602 in her career.

While growing up, there were times when Cameron Swartz’s heart would “flutter” a bit.

“I used to tell people that my heart would feel funny or my heart would hurt,” she said.

Doctors never really caught on to what was happening to her, but during her first few weeks at Colorado, Swartz’s heart had another “episode,” as she calls it. Her heart rate during a workout vaulted to 270 beats per minute.

“As soon as it happened, (the trainers) were on it,” said Swartz, a freshman for the CU women’s basketball team.

After meeting with doctors and cardiologists, Swartz was diagnosed with supraventricular tachycardia (SVT) – which is an abnormally fast heartbeat. Swartz had an extra fiber in her heart, which caused the electrical impulses in her heart to not work properly at times.

Although it wasn’t constant, Swartz often had episodes where her heart rate would skyrocket and, she said, “I would completely get drained for a week.”

For several weeks this fall, Swartz wore a heart monitor so doctors could track what was going on. On Oct. 22 — one week before the Buffs’ exhibition game to kick off the season — she had a cardiac ablation procedure to destroy the extra fiber in her heart.

Now, 10 games into her freshman season with the Buffs (9-1), Swartz is getting into a groove on the court and grateful for the doctors and CU trainers that have helped her feel better.

“(SVT) prevented me from getting in shape,” she said. “I’d be running and in such good shape, but I would never be able to feel good. After surgery, I could run a marathon.

“Just knowing that’s gone, it makes me feel so much better.”

Having her heart issue taken care of has helped the 5-foot-11 guard from Marietta, Ga., start to settle into college basketball.

A sharpshooter and high volume scorer in high school, Swartz scored her first points for the Buffs — naturally on a 3-pointer — against Navy on Dec. 9. On Dec. 12, she posted season highs in minutes (17), points (12), rebounds (three) and steals (two) during a rout of Prairie View A&M.

“We’re going to play tougher opponents and it’s going to get harder to get my shot off, harder to get the open spots against better defense,” she said, “but, I really think getting in the flow of the game on the big court with all the fans and just the tempo of the game and getting a feel is definitely going to help me in the future.”

Swartz played at a small school in Georgia and did just about everything for her team. Playing with teammates who are just as talented – if not more so – than she is at CU has been adjustment, but one she’s enjoying.

“It’s a totally different game,” she said. “(Playing with other high-caliber players) was a hard adjustment at first for me, but I’m really getting a hang of it.”

As she recovered from her heart procedure and adjusted to the college game, Swartz had a hard time getting off the bench early in the year, but now feels great comfort.

“I really do,” she said. “I’ve been working a lot harder and I just met with the coaches and asked them what I need to do to get on the court and what I need to do to earn their trust. I think that’s really helped me, because I can go in and know I’m doing the right things to get their trust and play their game.”

Whether the 17-minute, 12-point games become routine or not, Swartz is a more confident — and healthier — player than she was just a couple months ago.

“I’m glad I’m confident and my teammates can trust me and my coaches can trust me,” she said. “I just have to continue to work hard and show that I’m ready to play.”

Contact staff writer Brian Howell at howellb@dailycamera.com or twitter.com/BrianHowell33