In a frightening moment at the 2022 FINA World Championships, Team USA swimmer Anita Alvarez fainted during the solo free final.
Alvarez sank to the bottom of the pool before her coach, Andrea Fuentes, jumped in to rescue her.
“It was a big scare. I had to jump in because the lifeguards weren’t doing it. I was scared because I saw she wasn’t breathing, but now she is doing very well.” Fuentes said in an interview with MARCA.
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
US swimmer Anita Alvarez’s coach saves her after she fainted in the water during World Championshipshttps://t.co/xMQOMWumUC
— Sky News (@SkyNews) June 23, 2022
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
As the American artistic swimmer Anita Alvarez fainted and sank toward the bottom of the pool at the world championships, her coach Andrea Fuentes made a split-second decision: She dove in to save her.
— The New York Times (@nytimes) June 23, 2022
Alvarez received immediate medical attention and seems to be doing well now. Fuentes told MARCA that the plan for the swimmer is to rest all day Thursday in hopes of her being able to compete in Friday’s team free event. However, Alvarez will go through testing in the next few days to try and figure out the cause of her fainting.
The 25-year-old Alvarez was competing for a medal in her third trip to the World Championships. She did not see the podium, finishing seventh. Japanese swimmer Yukiko Inui took gold, Marta Fiedina won silver for Ukraine and Evangelia Platanioti earned bronze for Greece.
Unfortunately, Alvarez has a history of fainting. She also fainted while doing her artistic swimming routine last year at the Olympic qualifier in Barcelona. After that incident, her mother told WIVB that she had seen her daughter faint before, but not during a competition.
France 24 added:
Alvarez was taken on a stretcher to the pool’s medical centre, with teammates and fans appearing to be in shock poolside.
The US swim team later released a statement saying that Alvarez was doing well.
Fuentes, a four-time Olympic medallist, told Spanish radio that Alvarez had fainted due to the effort expended during the routine.
“She only had water in her lungs, once she started breathing again everything was OK,” said Fuentes.
“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 wasn’t breathing … I went as quickly as I could, as if it were an Olympic final.”
Fuentes said Alvarez planned to rest Thursday and was still hoping to compete in Friday’s team event after further medical checks.