US coach dramatically saves artistic swimmer at world championships

BUDAPEST, Hungary (AP) — Andrea Fuentes avoided tragedy at the world swimming championships thanks to her quick reaction.

The United States coach knew something was wrong when she saw artistic swimmer Anita Alvarez sink motionless to the bottom of the pool during a solo free routine on Wednesday.

Fuentes, fully clothed, dived. She swam to the unresponsive Alvarez, put her arms around her, and lifted her to the surface of the water, where another person helped her out of the pool.

Alvarez, a two-time Olympian, had passed out.

“It was her best performance ever, she just pushed her limits and she found them,” Fuentes joked.

Alvarez, who immediately received medical attention, felt much better on Thursday.

“Anita has been assessed by medical staff and will continue to be monitored. She is feeling much better and is enjoying the day to rest,” USA Artistic Swimming told The Associated Press in a statement.

“Watching two-time Olympian Anita Alvarez’s medical emergency yesterday and coach Andrea Fuentes’ subsequent rescue was heartbreaking for our community. She gave an exceptional solo performance and competed brilliantly in four preliminary competitions and three competitive six-day finals.

Alvarez finished seventh in Wednesday’s individual final.

“Whether or not she swims in the free team final on Friday … will be determined by Anita and the expert medical staff,” USA Artistic Swimming said.

Fuentes also said Alvarez was doing much better in an Instagram post.

“Doctors have checked all vital signs and everything is normal: heart rate, oxygen, sugar, blood pressure, etc… all is well,” Fuentes wrote. “We sometimes forget that this happens in other high endurance sports. Marathon, cycling, cross… we’ve all seen images where some athletes don’t make it to the finish line and others help them get there. Our sport is no different from any other, just in a pool we push the limits and sometimes we find them.


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