An American artistic swimmer who fainted underwater at the World Championships was rescued by a coach

An American artistic swimmer who fainted underwater at the World Championships was rescued by a coach

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Double Olympic swimmer Anita Alvarez fainted and sank to the bottom of the pool during the World Water Sports Championships held in Budapest on Wednesday. Her coach in the USA team, Andrea Fuentes, jumped to save her, lifting her limp body and pushing her back to the surface of the water.

A series of photographs recorded a dramatic rescue. One picture shows Fuentes, fully clothed, reaching out her hand underwater as she tries to grab an unconscious swimmer. The second shows a couple intertwined as Fuentes leads them both into the air.

Alvarez received emergency medical care after the rescue.

Following the incident, Fuentes accused rescuers at the scene of not reacting quickly enough in the face of danger.

“It was a great fear,” Fuentes told the Spanish newspaper Marca. “I had to jump in because the rescuers didn’t do it.”

Alvarez competed in the women’s free solo final when she stopped breathing, which caused widespread concern among her teammates and spectators on the field and on social media.

In an update on Instagram on Wednesday, the official American account for artistic swimming shared the statement of Fuentes, which says that Alvarez was examined by doctors and that he is recovering. She thanked the people for their good wishes and said that the athlete “now feels good”.

“Everything is fine,” she wrote, before pointing out the risk that swimmers, like other athletes, face while performing.

“We have all seen pictures in which some athletes do not reach the finish line, and others help them get there. “Our sport is no different from others, only in the pool,” she said. “We break boundaries and sometimes we find them.”

Alvarez, from Tonawanda, New York, started artistic swimming, widely known as synchronized swimming until 2017, at the age of five. He is now considered a skilled veteran and a member of the U.S. team, competing at the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Games and the 2020 Tokyo Games, which have been moved to 2021 due to the pandemic.

Wednesday was the second time Alvarez, 25, had fainted while swimming. It is also the second time that Fuentes has jumped to save her.

In Barcelona last year, the swimmer fainted during the qualifications for the Olympic Games, which is why her coach dived and pulled her out of the water. It remains unclear what caused the collapse of Alvarez, but this sport often requires swimmers to hold their breath.

“Coming to the air only occasionally, artistic swimmers need clean air when they have the opportunity to breathe,” the information on the team’s official website states.

American artistic swimmers, separated and out of the pool, still try to stay in sync

During the coronavirus pandemic, athletes around the world were forced to find alternative training methods, including an American artistic swimming team that was forced to train solo, occasionally standing on their heads in their bedrooms – perfecting leg movements – even when pools were around the country. were closed.

Fuentes told the Washington Post that the team turned to virtual group training, which is sometimes joined by other international swimmers. Alvarez, she said, taught the group TikTok dance.

It remains unclear whether Alvarez will participate in the team competition on Friday. Doctors should examine her on Thursday.

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