American Anita Alvarez was rescued from the bottom of the pool by a coach after she lost consciousness during her synchronized swimming performance at the World Swimming Championships in Budapest.
Spaniard Andrea Fuentes jumped to the aid of 25-year-old Alvarez, who sank to the bottom of the pool and could no longer breathe during her performance in the freestyle singles final on Wednesday night.
“It was terrible,” Fuentes said. “I had to jump because the rescuers didn’t.”
Fuentesen, 39, plunged in shorts and a shirt to the bottom of the pool and pulled Alvarez to the surface before being helped to the edge of the pool.
Quick rescue.@AFP Photographers Oli Scarff and Peter Kochalmi capture the dramatic rescue of American Anita Alvarez from the bottom of a pool after she passed out during the women’s artistic swimming finals at the 2022 FINA World Aquatics Championships in Budapest. pic.twitter.com/8Y0wo6lSun
— AFP News Agency (@AFP) June 23, 2022
“I was scared because I knew she wasn’t breathing, but she’s fine now,” said Fuentes, a four-time Olympic medalist.
Alvarez was carried on a stretcher to the institution’s medical center, where her colleagues and fans were shocked.
Team USA later released a statement from Fuentes stating that Alvarez had passed out due to the effort expended during her performance.
“Anita is fine. Doctors checked her vital signs, everything was normal: pulse, oxygen, sugar levels, blood pressure, ”said the 16-time winner of the world championships.
She continued, “Sometimes we forget that this happens in other sports that require high endurance. Marathon, cycling and so on… We have seen photos where some athletes do not reach the finish line, while others help them to reach it… Our sport is no different, but it is in the pool.”
American artistic swimmer #Anita Alvarez was in danger of drowning after she passed out in the pool at the World Championships before being rescued by her coach Andrea Fuentes. https://t.co/jmNaDUTy3n
— Onmanorama (@Onmanorama) June 23, 2022
Alvarez is participating in the World Championships for the third time, and she also fainted during the Olympic qualification in Barcelona last year.
In another interview, Fuentes criticized the slow response of the lifeguards at the World Championships, which ends on July 2, after almost two weeks of competition.
She said, “I think she didn’t breathe for at least two minutes because her lungs were full of water. But we managed to get her to a good place. She vomited water and coughed, but it was very scary.”
She added: “When I saw her drowning, I looked at the rescuers, but I saw that they were in shock. They didn’t react. I said to myself: “Are you going to dive?” I reacted quickly and told myself I couldn’t. watch.”
And she continued, “I didn’t think about it, I jumped. I think it was the weirdest and fastest free jump I’ve ever done in my career. light.”
Fuentes confirmed that Alvarez will rest on Thursday while doctors will decide if she is ready to compete in Friday’s team final.