News | Swimming
27 Jun 2022 9:11
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  •   Home > News > Sports > Swimming

    Photographer captures dramatic underwater rescue of unconscious swimmer Anita Alvarez

    Team USA swimmer Anita Alvarez lost consciousness during her routine at the 2022 FINA World Aquatics Championships in Budapest. A photographer captured what followed.

    An underwater photographer has captured the dramatic rescue of Team USA swimmer Anita Alvarez, who fainted during her routine.

    Alvarez, 25, was performing in the artistic swimming solo free final at the 2022 FINA World Aquatics Championships in Budapest.

    At the end of her swim on Wednesday (local time) she became unconscious and sank to the bottom of the pool.

    Head coach Andrea Fuentes dived in, fully clothed, to rescue Alvarez.

    "It was a good scare," Fuentes told Spanish sports newspaper Macra.

    "I had to dive because the lifeguards didn't do it. I was scared because I could see she wasn't breathing."

    The underwater rescue was captured by AFP photographer Oli Scarff.

    Fuentes brought Alvarez to the surface, where another swimmer helped her take Alvarez to the edge of the pool.

    Alvarez was lifted out of the water and onto a stretcher to receive medical attention.

    In a statement, Fuentes said Alvarez had a medical emergency but was OK.

    "The doctors checked all vitals and everything is normal: heart rate, oxygen, sugar levels, blood pressure, etc … all is okay," Fuentes said.

    "We sometimes forget that this happens in other high-endurance sports.

    "We all have seen images where some athletes don't make it to the finish line and others help them to get there.

    "Our sport is no different than others, just in a pool, we push through limits and sometimes we find them.

    "Anita feels good now and the doctors also say she is okay. Tomorrow she will rest all day and will decide with the doctor if she can swim free team finals or not. Thank you for all of your well wishes for Anita." 

    This is not the first time Alvarez has had a medical emergency in the pool.

    She briefly lost consciousness at the end of a routine during an Olympic qualification event in Barcelona in June 2021.

    It was Fuentes again who dived in to rescue her.

    Alvarez came seventh on Wednesday with a score of 87.6333.

    The women's solo free was won by Japan's Yukiko Inui, who scored 95.3667.

    © 2022 ABC Australian Broadcasting Corporation. All rights reserved

     Other Swimming News
     25 Jun: FINA bans Team USA artistic swimmer Anita Alvarez from competition after she fainted in Budapest pool
     25 Jun: New Zealand's Eve Thomas has placed seventh and hit a personal in the final of the women's 800 metres freestyle at the Swimming World Championships in Budapest, with a time of eight minutes and 30 seconds
     24 Jun: Artistic swimmer Anita Alvarez 'feeling much better' after fainting in the pool during world championship solo competition
     23 Jun: The Loop: Death toll from Afghanistan earthquake rises, more Swimming Championship medals for Australia, Amazon reveals new plans for Alexa
     21 Jun: 'Get a grip': Ballon D'Or winner Megan Rapinoe criticises growing exclusion of trans people from sport
     20 Jun: Cate Campbell uses speech to FINA to back restriction on transgender athletes in women's elite swimming
     20 Jun: The Loop: World swimming's transgender ban, child protection 'broken' in Australia, and Logies winners
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