American swimming coach Andrea Fuentes made a dramatic rescue at the World Aquatics Championships in Budapest, Hungary, after an American swimmer began sinking to the bottom of the pool.
“It was a big scare. I had to jump in because the lifeguards weren’t doing it,” the Spanish newspaper Marca quoted Fuentes as saying.
Fuentes, dressed in shorts and a T-shirt, dove in and grabbed Alvarez.
Rapid rescue.@AFP photographers Oli Scarff and Peter Kohalmi capture the dramatic rescue of USA’s Anita Alvarez from the bottom of the pool when she fainted during the women’s solo free artistic swimming finals at the Budapest 2022 World Aquatics Championships pic.twitter.com/8Y0wo6lSUn
— AFP News Agency (@AFP) June 23, 2022
The coach carried Alvarez to the surface, where she had help getting the 25-year-old Alvarez out of the pool.
“I was scared because I saw she wasn’t breathing, but now she is doing very well,” Fuentes said.
Fuentes said Alvarez fainted due to the effort expended during the routine.
“She only had water in her lungs; once she started breathing again, everything was OK,” Fuentes said.
Fuentes said lifeguards did not appear to realize what was taking place.
“It felt like a whole hour. I said things weren’t right, I was shouting at the lifeguards to get into the water, but they didn’t catch what I said, or they didn’t understand,” she said.
“She wasn’t breathing … I went as quickly as I could, as if it were an Olympic final,” the coach said.
Fuentes posted a follow-up statement on Friday.
“Anita is okay — the doctors checked all vitals and everything is normal: heart rate, oxygen, sugar levels, blood pressure, etc… all is okay. We sometimes forget that this happens in other high-endurance sports. Marathon, cycling, cross country… we all have seen images where some athletes don’t make it to the finish line and others help them to get there,” she wrote on the USA Artistic Swimming Instagram account, according to Business Insider.
“Our sport is no different than others, just in a pool, we push through limits and sometimes we find them. Anita feels good now and the doctors also say she is okay,” she wrote.
“Watching yesterday’s medical emergency of 2x Olympian Anita Alvarez and subsequent rescue by coach Andrea Fuentes was heartbreaking for our community. She gave an exceptional solo performance and competed brilliantly in four preliminary and three final competitions across six days,” USA Artistic Swimming said in a statement, according to ABC.
Alvarez’s status for the Friday team event was uncertain as of Thursday.
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