Photo: Zsolt Szigetvary / EFE
A moment of uncertainty and tension was experienced this Wednesday at the FINA World Aquatics Championships in Budapest, Hungary, when the American swimmer Anita Álvarez lost consciousness and had to be rescued from the bottom of the pool by her coach Andrea Fuentes.
Álvarez, a 25-year-old athlete, was performing her routine in a women’s free event corresponding to the championship when she lost consciousness and passed out until she sank deep in the Olympic pool.
Andrea Fuentes, who was a four-time Olympic medalist in synchronized swimming, is Spanish by nationality and is a coach on the United States team. She jumped into the pool to rescue her swimmer.
“The lifeguards did not jump. I have gone direct. She wasn’t breathing. I have slapped him twice. ‘Anita, breathe!’, the Spanish told the media. She was then immediately treated by medical services and she was transferred on a stretcher until she received more complete care.
“I don’t think I’ve ever swum that fast before, even when I got Olympic medals, and well, in the end I was able to pick her up and she wasn’t breathing. Then the lifeguard came.”Fuentes told Cadena Cope.
It was the second time Fuentes rescued Alvarez in a swimming pool, according to Reuters. The first was last year in a qualifying event, and she was supported by teammate Lindi Schroeder.
US Artistic Swimming Statement
The official US Artistic Swimming account published a statement on Instagram in which Andrea Fuentes explained the situation in which Anita Álvarez finds herself. This Thursday the athlete will rest and wait for the medical report to see if she can compete in the team synchronized swimming finals.
“Anita is fine, the doctors checked all vital signs and everything is normal: heart rate, oxygen, sugar levels, blood pressure, etc… everything is fine.
Sometimes we forget that this happens in other high endurance sports. Marathon, cycling, cross country… We have all seen images where some athletes do not reach the finish line and others help them to get there.
Our sport is no different than others, it’s just that it’s in a pool, we try to push the limits and sometimes we meet them. Anita feels fine now and the doctors say she is fine too,” Fuentes explained.
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