Coach Rescues U.S. Swimmer Anita Alvarez After She Fainted at World Championships

Coach Andrea Fuentes rescued United States swimmer Anita Alvarez who sank to the bottom of the pool after losing consciousness at the World Aquatic Championships in Budapest, Hungary on June 22.

Fuentes, a four-time Olympic medalist in synchronized swimming, dove into the pool after she saw Alvarez going down instead of upward to breathe at the end of her routine.

Fuentes said she also noticed Alvarez’s feet were more pale than usual before fainting.

“I was already paying attention, and then I saw her going down,” Fuentes told CNN.

“I didn’t even ask myself if I should go or not, I just thought that I was not going to wait,” Fuentes further said.

Images showed Fuentes, while still fully clothed in a T-shirt and shorts, swimming to 25-year-old Alvarez, lifting her to the surface of the water, then bringing her to the edge of the pool with the help of an unidentified man.

Alvarez received medical attention beside the pool before she was carried off on a stretcher.

In a statement on the USA Artistic Swimming Instagram account, Fuentes said that Alvarez was “okay.”

“The doctors checked all vitals and everything is normal: heart rate, oxygen, sugar levels, blood pressure, etc… all is okay,” Fuentes said.

“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,” Fuentes further said.

When asked if she felt the lifeguards did not react quickly enough, Fuentes said that she spotted the problem quickly because “I know Anita very well and I know the sport very well.”

“They did their job, I did mine,” Fuentes added.

Alvarez finished seventh in the women’s solo free event on June 22.


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