Dramatic Rescue at World Championships After Swimmer Faints and Sinks in Pool | Swimming

Anita Alvarez was at the center of a dramatic episode at the world swimming championships in Budapest on Wednesday, when the artistic swimmer had to be rescued from the bottom of the pool by her coach after losing consciousness in the water.

American Alvarez had completed her solo free final at the World Aquatics Championships when she passed out and sank to the bottom of the pool. Andrea Fuentes, her trainer, quickly realized something was wrong and dived in fully clothed to pull Alvarez to the surface.

Alvarez, competing in her third world championship, wasn’t breathing when Fuentes dragged her with some help to the side of the pool. The swimmer was taken from there to the pool’s medical center, and the US team later released a statement saying she was fine.

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Fuentes said that despite the incident, Alvarez still hopes to compete in Friday’s team event.

“It was a big scare,” Fuentes told Spanish newspaper Marca. “I was scared because I saw that she wasn’t breathing, but now she is very well.”

Anita Alvarez of the USA competes in the women's solo free final on day six of the 2022 Fina world championships in Budapest.
Anita Alvarez of the USA competes in the women’s solo free final on day six of the 2022 Fina world championships in Budapest. Photography: Nikola Krstic/MB Media/Getty Images
Anita Álvarez
Alvarez was later rescued by her trainer, Andrea Fuentes. Photography: Oli Scarff/AFP/Getty Images

It’s not the first time Alvarez has passed out in the pool, according to reports. A similar scene took place at an Olympic qualifier in Spain last year, when fully clothed Fuentes jumped into the pool to make a rescue.

At the time, Alvarez’s mother Karen said: “Unfortunately, I’ve seen this happen to her before.”

Andrea Fuentes swims to rescue Alvarez from the bottom of the pool.
Andrea Fuentes swims to rescue Alvarez from the bottom of the pool. Photography: Oli Scarff/AFP/Getty Images

Spain’s Fuentes, a hugely successful former synchronized swimmer with four Olympic, 16 world and 11 European medals, is the head coach of the US national team.

Alvarez is taken out of the pool and attended to by the medical team.
Alvarez is taken out of the pool and attended to by the medical team. Photography: Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images

“She only had water in her lungs, when she started breathing again, everything was fine,” said Fuentes. “It felt like a whole hour.

“She wasn’t breathing… I went as fast as I could, like it was an Olympic final.”

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