Team USA head coach Andrea Fuentes swims toward Anita Alvarez, who sank to the bottom of the pool Wednesday during the women’s solo artistic free swimming final at the Budapest 2022 World Aquatics Championships.

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Team USA head coach Andrea Fuentes swims toward Anita Alvarez, who sank to the bottom of the pool Wednesday during the women’s solo artistic free swimming final at the Budapest 2022 World Aquatics Championships.

Oli Scarff/AFP via Getty Images

American artistic swimmer Anita Alvarez was finishing her routine in the solo free final at the World Aquatics Championships on Wednesday when the two-time Olympian suddenly sank to the bottom of the pool, unconscious.

Team USA coach Andrea Fuentes took immediate action and dove into the water. Fuentes, who won Olympic and world medals for her native Spain, ran to catch up with Álvarez, hugged her from behind her and kicked the pool floor, sending them reeling to the surface.

“I saw that the lifeguards did not jump into the water because they were paralyzed. He was yelling at them from the other side to get into the water, now! I saw them with a dumbfounded face, so I jumped into the water and straight towards her. , Fuentes said according to The countryciting an interview with a Spanish radio station.

“I watched it sink and swam as fast as I could,” Fuentes added. “I did the fastest freediving of my life, faster than when I was preparing for the Olympics.”

Team USA coach Andrea Fuentes brings Anita Alvarez up from the bottom of the pool at the 2022 World Aquatics Championships in Budapest.

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Team USA coach Andrea Fuentes brings Anita Alvarez up from the bottom of the pool at the 2022 World Aquatics Championships in Budapest.

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The two were then helped to the side of the pool, where Alvarez was placed on a stretcher.

The terrifying situation and the dramatic rescue caused great concern and admiration for the coach’s quick thinking. Fuentes extended thanks for him on Thursday, saying in a post on the team’s Facebook page that Alvarez is feeling much better, with normal vital signs and blood sugar and oxygen levels.

What Alvarez experienced is similar to what athletes in other high-endurance sports sometimes go through, Fuentes said.

“Our sport is no different than others, just in a pool, we push the limits and sometimes we find them,” he said.

In Budapest, Álvarez, 25, has competed in seven events – four preliminary swims and three finals – over six days. She is also set to compete in Friday’s team free final, but USA Artistic Swimming says the question of whether she will swim in that event “will be determined by Anita and the expert medical staff.”

Team USA swimmer Anita Alvarez is brought to the surface by trainer Andrea Fuentes. “Our sport is no different than others,” Fuentes said, “just in a pool, we push the limits and sometimes we find them.”

Oli Scarff/AFP via Getty Images


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Oli Scarff/AFP via Getty Images


Team USA swimmer Anita Alvarez is brought to the surface by trainer Andrea Fuentes. “Our sport is no different than others,” Fuentes said, “just in a pool, we push the limits and sometimes we find them.”

Oli Scarff/AFP via Getty Images

Álvarez is a core member of the US artistic swim team. She competed for the US team in Rio and Tokyo; in 2021, she was named the USA Artistic Swimming Athlete of the Year.

Alvarez has passed out in the pool before; in fact, when it happened in last summer’s Olympic qualifiers in Barcelona, ​​it was Fuentes who saved her. Just like this week, Alvarez was completing a grueling workload. She later said that she was affected by the lack of rest and the conditions in the pool.

“I honestly thought I was asleep,” Alvarez he said after that ordeal. “I started hearing people say, ‘Everything is going to be okay.’ I thought, ‘Stop saying that to me! I am trying to sleep’. Then I realized no, I was still in the pool.”



Reference-www.npr.org

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