Artistic swimmer Anita Alvarez of Team USA had to be dramatically rescued from the bottom of the pool after the 25-year-old fainted and sank in a distressing incident during the Artistic World Championships 2022 in Budapest.
Head coach of the USA team, Andrea Fuentes sensed that something was off when Anita, after having completed her solo free final, was taking a while to come up. Diving in immediately fully clothed, Andrea managed to pull an unconscious Anita back to the surface, just in the nick of time.
“It was a big scare. I had to jump in because the lifeguards weren’t doing it,” Fuentes was reported as saying by the Spanish newspaper Marca.
Anita, who was participating in her third World Championships, had apparently exerted herself a lot during the routine and hence was fatigued and lost consciousness, sinking to the bottom of the pool.
“I was scared because I saw she wasn’t breathing, but now she is doing very well,” mentioned Fuentes, a four-time Olympic artistic swimming medallist.
But it was a very scary moment for everyone present during the incident and didn’t worsen because of Fuentes’ timely intervention.
“It was very intense,” Fuentes told AS newspaper. “I think she was at least two minutes without breathing because her lungs were full of water.
Immediately after Fuentes brought her to the surface, Anita was taken on a stretcher to the pool’s medical centre. Her teammates and fans gathered around, all in shock, with some in tears consoling each other.”But we were able to take her to a good place, she vomited the water, coughed and that was it, but it was a big scare,” Fuentes mentioned.
“When I saw her sinking, I looked at the rescuers, but I saw that they were stunned. They didn’t react,” Fuentes was reported as saying by the newspaper.
“I didn’t overthink it, I jumped. I think it was the craziest and fastest free-dive I’ve ever done in my career. I picked her up and lifted her, obviously she was heavy, it wasn’t easy,” Fuentes recounted of the episode.
The USA artistic team released a statement from Fuentes on social media, saying Alvarez had fainted due to the effort expended during the routine, assuring that Anita is okay now.