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US Swimmer rescued by coach after fainting in pool at World Championships

Anita almost drowned after falling unconscious and hitting the bottom of the pool but it was her courageous coach Andrea Fuentes that saved her life

Ritesh Pathak Author

Updated - 23 June 2022 4:04 pm

Anita Alvarez

US Swimmer Anita Alvarez survived a life-threatening accident at the World Aquatics Championships in Budapest when her coach rescued her after fainting in the pool. Anita almost drowned after falling unconscious and hitting the bottom of the pool but it was her courageous coach Andrea Fuentes that saved her life by completing the rescue act on her own.

Fuentes dressed not in swimming gear but in shorts and a T-shirt, leapt in to rescue Anita Alvarez after seeing no action being taken by lifeguards. She dived to the bottom of the pool and dragged Alvarez to the surface before being assisted to get the stricken American to the edge of the pool. Notably, Anita had sunk to the bottom of the pool and was not breathing after passing out at the conclusion of her routine during Wednesday night’s solo free final.

After being rescued by her coach, Alvarez was taken on a stretcher to the pool’s medical centre. Meanwhile, Andrea Fuentes shared her experience and also updated on Anita Alvarez’s condition. “I was scared because I saw she wasn’t breathing, but now she is doing very well,” said Fuentes, a four-time Olympic artistic swimming medallist.

“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. 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,” she added.

They didn’t react: Fuentes not-so-happy with lifeguards

Andre Fuentes also spoke on the reaction from the lifeguards present at the accident site. She looked unhappy and could not believe they stood still while Anita sank to the bottom. “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 thought, ‘Will you jump in now?’ My reflexes kicked in quickly. I’m like that, I can’t just stare. 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.”

Notably, the reason behind Anita Alvarez’s falling unconscious was made clear by Team USA in a statement. The team said that Anita Alvarez had fainted due to the effort expended during the routine and added that the doctors will decide if she can swim in the team finals or not.

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