US swimmer rescued from World Championship pool after fainting

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Budapest (AFP) – Artistic swimmer Anita Alvarez was dramatically rescued from the bottom of the pool by her coach after fainting at the World Aquatics Championships in Budapest.

Andrea Fuentes jumped in to save Team USA’s Alvarez, who had sunk to the bottom of the pool and was not breathing after completing his routine in Wednesday night’s solo freestyle final.

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

Fuentes, wearing shorts and a T-shirt, dived to the bottom of the pool and dragged Alvarez to the surface before being helped to bring the injured swimmer to the edge of the pool.

“I was scared because I saw she wasn’t breathing, but now she’s fine,” Fuentes said.

Alvarez was taken on a stretcher to the poolside medical center, with teammates and fans appearing to be in shock poolside.

Team USA coach Andrea Fuentes (right) rescues unconscious artistic swimmer Anita Alvarez from the bottom of the pool during the World Aquatics Championships in Budapest on Wednesday
Team USA coach Andrea Fuentes (right) rescues unconscious artistic swimmer Anita Alvarez from the bottom of the pool during the World Aquatics Championships in Budapest on Wednesday Oli SCARFF AFP

The U.S. Swim Team later released a statement saying Alvarez was fine.

Fuentes, a four-time Olympic medalist, told Spanish radio that Alvarez passed out due to exertion during the routine.

“She only had water in her lungs, once she started breathing again everything was fine,” Fuentes said.

“It was like a whole hour. I said things weren’t right, I was yelling at the lifeguards to get in the water, but they didn’t understand what I said or they didn’t understand.

“She wasn’t breathing… I went as fast as I could, like it was an Olympic final.”

Fuentes said Alvarez planned to rest on Thursday and still hoped to compete in Friday’s team event after further medical checks.

Team USA coach Andrea Fuentes (left) helps rescue unconscious artistic swimmer Anita Alvarez (center)
Team USA coach Andrea Fuentes (left) helps rescue unconscious artistic swimmer Anita Alvarez (center) Peter KohalmiAFP

Alvarez, 25, was at his third world championships. She also reportedly passed out during an Olympic qualifier in Barcelona last year.

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