SPANISH swim coach Andrea Fuentes dived in fully clothed after one of her swimmers fainted during a performance in the World Championship pool.
Anita Alvarez, an American synchronised swimmer, was nearing the end of her routine at the World Swimming Championships being held in Hungary, Budapest, when she disappeared under the water.
Alvarez caused panic in the stadium after she appeared to lose consciousness and began sinking to the bottom of the pool.
Fuentes, who is the coach of the US synchronised swimming team, did not hesitate before making a heroic dive straight into the pool fully clothed and with the help of an assistant, pulled Alvarez out of the water.
She described how she noticed something wasn’t right with Alvarez. “I was shouting at the lifeguards to get into the water but they didn’t catch what I said or they didn’t understand. She wasn’t breathing. I went as quickly as I could, as if it were an Olympic final.”
Alvarez was not breathing when she was dragged to the side of the pool.
“It was a big scare,” Fuentes told Spanish newspaper Marca. “I was scared because I saw she was not breathing, but now she is doing very well. She only had water in her lungs, once she started breathing again everything was OK.”
Fuentes is a decorated swimmer herself, boasting a collection of four olympic medals which she won over two games in Beijing 2008 and London 2012.
Alvarez has now recovered and will undergo tests in the coming days to establish the cause of the episode.
Despite the frightening incident, the athlete, from New York, hopes to finish her World Championships by competing in another event on Friday.
It is not the first time the two-time Olympian has fainted in the pool – another incident happened in her 2021 Olympic qualifying event.
The scare shocked not just the US team, but the whole of the artistic swimming world, hitting home how physically demanding and potentially dangerous the sport can be.
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