American swimmer Anita Alvarez saved by coach Andrea Fuentes at world championships

American swimmer Anita Alvarez saved by coach Andrea Fuentes at world championships

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Two-time Olympic swimmer Anita Alvarez passed out and sank to the bottom of the pool during Wednesday’s World Aquatics Championships in Budapest. Her USA team coach, Andrea Fuentes, dove in to save her, picking up her inert body and bringing her to the surface of the water.

A series of photographs captured the dramatic rescue. One image shows Fuentes, fully clothed, reaching out underwater as she tries to grab the unconscious swimmer. Another shows the pair embracing as Fuentes guides them both to get some air.

Alvarez received emergency medical attention after the rescue.

Following the incident, Fuentes blamed the rescuers on scene for not acting fast enough in the face of danger.

“It was a big scare,” Fuentes told Spanish newspaper Marca. “I had to intervene because the rescuers weren’t doing it.”

Alvarez was competing in the women’s freestyle solo final when she stopped breathing, sparking widespread concern among her teammates and spectators on the venue and on social media.

In an Instagram update on Wednesday, the official USA Artistic Swimming account shared a statement from Fuentes who said Alvarez had been carefully examined by doctors and was recovering. She thanked people for their well wishes and said the athlete was “feeling great now”.

“All is well,” she wrote, before highlighting the risk that swimmers, like other athletes, face when performing.

“We’ve all seen images where some athletes don’t reach the finish line and others help them get there. Our sport is no different than any other, just in a pool,” she said. said “We push boundaries and sometimes we find them.”

Alvarez, from Tonawanda, NY, took up artistic swimming, more widely known as synchronized swimming, until 2017 when he was 5 years old. She is now considered a qualified veteran and member of Team USA, competing in the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Games and the 2020 Tokyo Games, which were postponed to 2021 amid the pandemic.

Wednesday marked the second time Alvarez, 25, passed out while swimming. It’s also the second time Fuentes has stepped in to save her.

In Barcelona last year, the swimmer passed out during an Olympic qualifying event, prompting her coach to dive in and pull her out of the water. It’s still unclear what caused Alvarez’s collapse, but the sport often forces swimmers to hold their breath.

“Only taking fresh air occasionally, artistic swimmers need clean air when they have a chance to breathe,” reads the team’s official website.

America’s artistic swimmers, separated and out of the pool, are still trying to stay in sync

During the coronavirus pandemic, athletes around the world have been forced to find alternative training methods, including the USA Artistic Swimming Team who have been forced to train solo, sometimes standing on their heads in their room – perfecting their leg movements – even though the country’s swimming pools were closed.

Fuentes told The Washington Post that the team has turned to virtual group workouts, sometimes joined by other international swimmers. Alvarez, she said, taught the group a TikTok dance.

It remains unclear if Alvarez will compete in Friday’s team event. She is due to be examined by doctors on Thursday.

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