Swimmer Saved by Coach After Fainting at World Aquatics Championship

  • Artistic swimmer Anita Alvarez fainted while competing at the World Aquatics Championships.
  • Her coach, Andrea Fuentes, jumped in the pool to save her because “the lifeguards weren’t doing it.”
  • Fuentes said that Alvarez is now “doing very well,” and may still compete in an upcoming team event.

American artistic swimmer Anita Alvarez was dramatically rescued after she fainted while competing at the World Aquatics Championship in Budapest.

Per Agence France-Presse, Alvarez, 25, completed her routine in the solo free final on Wednesday night before losing consciousness and sinking to the bottom of the competition pool.

Her coach, Andrea Fuentes, jumped into the water in her t-shirt and shorts to rescue the swimmer “because the lifeguards weren’t doing it,” she told Spanish news outlet Marca

Photographs of the rescue and of the distraught faces of the people watching poolside have since made their rounds online. 

“I was scared because I saw she wasn’t breathing, but now she is doing very well,” Fuentes said, per Marca.

Members of Team United States react as Anita Alvarez of Team United States is attended to by medical staff following her Women's Solo Free Final performance on day six of the Budapest 2022 FINA World Championships at Alfred Hajos National Aquatics Complex on June 22, 2022 in Budapest, Hungary.

Alvarez’s teammates were visibly shaken by the incident.

Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images

The coach told Spanish radio that the rescue “felt like a whole hour,” per AFP. 

“I said things weren’t right, I was shouting at the lifeguards to get into the water, but they didn’t catch what I said or they didn’t understand,” Fuentes said, per the outlet. “I went as quickly as I could, as if it were an Olympic final.”

She also provided an update via the USA Artistic Swimming Instagram account on Thursday morning.

“Anita is okay — the doctors checked all vitals and everything is normal: heart rate, oxygen, sugar levels, blood pressure, etc… all is okay. We sometimes forget that this happens in other high-endurance sports. Marathon, cycling, cross country… we all have seen images where some athletes don’t make it to the finish line and others help them to get there,” she wrote in the caption alongside a picture of Alvarez.

“Our sport is no different than others, just in a pool, we push through limits and sometimes we find them. Anita feels good now and the doctors also say she is okay,” she continued, adding that Alvarez will discuss with the doctors if she can continue to compete in an upcoming team event. 

A post shared by USA Artistic Swimming (@usaartisticswimming)

According to the BBC, this is not the first time Alvarez has fainted in the pool while competing. She lost consciousness following a routine during an Olympic qualifier in Barcelona last year and was also saved by Fuentes at the time, per the outlet.

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