Coach Andrea Fuentes jumped into the pool after seeing the 25-year-old artistic swimmer sink to the bottom at the end of her routine in the freestyle competition for women on Wednesday.
Fuentes, a four-time Olympic medalist in synchronized swimming, lifted Alvarez to the surface before helping her lead her to the edge of the pool.
Alvarez, who competed in the Olympic Games in 2016 and 2020, was given medical assistance by the pool, Reuters reported, and then he was taken away on a stretcher.
It was the second time that Fuentes had to save Alvarez, according to Reuters, after she jumped into the pool last year during the qualifications for the Olympic Games and pulled her to safety, together with the American swimming partner Linda Schroeder.
She said: “When the swimmer finishes his routine, the first thing he wants to do is breathe and so I saw that instead of going up, she goes down and I said to myself, ‘Something’s going on,’ and I called on lifeguards to say, ‘ ‘Go to the pool, can’t you see she’s falling into the water?’
“And they didn’t react, so after a few seconds I entered as fast as I could.
“I don’t think I’ve ever swum so fast before, even when I won Olympic medals and in the end I managed to lift it and it didn’t breathe … In the end, everything came. of OK. “
The International Swimming Federation (FINA) – the governing body of the sport – did not immediately respond to CNN’s request for comment on the speed of the rescue.
But in a statement to CNN on Thursday, FINA said she was in contact with Alvarez, her team and medical staff after what she described as “emergency medical care”.
“Ms. Alvarez was immediately given medical assistance at the scene and she is in good health,” the statement said.
In a statement on the American Instagram page Artistic Swimming, Fuentes said that Alvarez will rest on Thursday and consult a doctor to see if she would be able to compete in the finals of free swimming, which should take place on Friday, according to FINA.
“Sometimes we forget that it happens in other high endurance sports. Marathon, cycling, cross country … we have all seen pictures in which some athletes do not reach the finish line, while others help them get there,” Fuentes added.
“Our sport is no different from others, only in the pool, we push the boundaries and sometimes we find them. Anita is feeling well now, and the doctors also say she is fine.”
Alvarez – the athlete of the year in artistic swimming in the USA 2021 – finished seventh. Japan’s Yukiko Inui won gold, while Ukraine’s Marta Fiedina and Evangelija Platanioti from Greece took second and third place, respectively.
Born in Kenmore, NI, Alvarez competed in the 2012 U.S. Olympics at the age of 14. Four years later, she became a team, finishing ninth in the duet in Rio 2016. She was 13th in the same competition in Tokyo 2020.
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