Two-time Olympic artistic swimmer Anita Alvarez was in danger of drowning after fainting while performing at the World Championships in Budapest, Hungary, on Wednesday and was dramatically rescued by her coach.
“In harrowing images, 25-year-old Anita Alvarez could be seen floating toward the bottom of the pool, apparently unconscious, after completing her solo free routine,” NBC reported.
Alvarez’s coach, Andrea Fuentes, a four-time Olympic medalist in synchronized swimming, jumped immediately after she saw Alvarez losing her consciousness and sinking to the bottom of the pool.
Alvarez was not breathing and was given medical attention beside the pool before being taken away on a stretcher, according to ESPN.
“Anita is much better; she is already at her best. It was a good scare, to be honest,” Fuentes told the Spanish newspaper Marca.
“I jumped into the water again because I saw that no one, no lifeguard, was jumping in. I got a little scared because she wasn’t breathing, but now she’s fine. She has to rest,” Fuentes added.
Absolutely incredible images from @oliscarff today.
A member of Team USA rescues Anita Alvarez from the bottom of the pool after Alvarez fainted during her solo free artistic swimming routine at the Budapest 2022 World Aquatics Championships pic.twitter.com/Tb5pHzcCQ8
— Nathan Howard (@SmileItsNathan) June 23, 2022
The USA Artistic Swimming Team immediately released a statement following the incident.
It’s always a pleasure to watch Anita Alvarez swim.
Anita suffered another medical emergency, similar to last year at qualifiers, at the conclusion of her swim. We’ll provide an update from Anita when she has had the chance to rest and be fully evaluated by medical staff. Until then, we are celebrating seven amazing performances by her across five days of competition.
Andrea Fuentes also released a statement on her Instagram account saying that Alvarez had fainted due to “she just pushed through her limits.”
What a day!!! I think I had all kind of possible emotions! It’s late at night and just wanted to say thank you for all your messages. I’m so happy you enjoyed our choreographies and we cannot wait to show a better performance at finals. We have so much room for improvement but hope and believe is so important and today we had plenty of it! We are going to do even better at finals!! Anita’s solo was so good too, it was her best performance ever, she just pushed through her limits and she found them but Anita is ok and the doctors also said she is fine. We all know it happens in other sports: cycling, marathon, track and field… some don’t make it to the final line and some even finish crawling or passing out. Our sport is very hard too. Now it’s time to rest and recover. Tomorrow is highlight day and free duet finals! Ready to give our best.