Dramatic rescue of Anita Alvarez from pool at World Aquatics Championships - in pictures

US artistic swimmer had to be dragged from the bottom of pool after fainting in Budapest

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Artistic swimmer Anita Alvarez had to be rescued from the bottom of the pool after fainting at World Aquatics Championships in Budapest.

Coach Andrea Fuentes leapt in to rescue Alvarez, who had sunk to the bottom of the pool after passing out at the conclusion of her routine during Wednesday night's solo free final.

She swam to the unresponsive Alvarez, put her arms around her and lifted her to the water’s surface, where another person helped get her out of the pool.

Alvarez, who was immediately given medical attention, was feeling better on Thursday.

“Anita is doing fine and taking today to rest,” said Alyssa Jacobs, spokeswoman for the team. “She has been fully evaluated by both our team doctor and event medical staff.

“She currently has one final event left to participate in at the 2022 World Championships and she will decide if she feels up to compete tomorrow if she is cleared medically.”

The 25-year-old Alvarez is in the US team for the Team Free Final on Friday.

“This happened to her once last year at the Olympic Qualification Tournament when competing her duet,” said Jacobs. “Prior to that, she has had sporadic issues with fainting but never in competition.”

On Wednesday, Fuentes, dressed not in swimming gear but in shorts and a T-shirt, dived to the bottom of the pool and dragged Alvarez to the surface.

“It was a big scare. I had to jump in because the lifeguards weren't doing it,” Fuentes,, a four-time Olympic artistic swimming medallist, was reported as saying by Spanish newspaper Marca.

“I was scared because I saw she wasn't breathing, but now she is doing very well."

Alvarez was taken on a stretcher to the pool's medical centre, with teammates and fans left in shock poolside, with some in tears consoling each other.

“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.”

Updated: June 24, 2022, 9:35 AM
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