Home General News Quick-thinking coach dives to rescue unconscious swimmer

Quick-thinking coach dives to rescue unconscious swimmer

by Anthony L. Gonzalez

Amazing footage has surfaced of an American swimmer being rescued by her coach after she passed out and sank to the bottom of the pool.

On Wednesday, Coach Andrea Fuentes wasted no time jumping into the water after she spotted 25-year-old artistic swimmer Anita Alvarez sinking at the FINA World Aquatics Championships in Budapest.

“I saw her go down,” Fuentes said.

“I didn’t even wonder if I should go; I just thought I wouldn’t wait.”

Fuentes, a four-time Olympic medalist in synchronized swimming for Spain, dove fully clothed. She lifted Alvarez to the surface, then helped her to the pool’s edge.

Quick-thinking coach dives to rescue unconscious swimmer

“I had to jump in because the lifeguards weren’t doing it. I was afraid because I saw she was not breathing, but now she is very well,” said Fuentes.

She was quick to add that the lifeguards had done nothing wrong.

“They did their job; I did mine,” she said.

Alvarez, who competed in the 2016 and 2020 Olympics, received medical attention before being transported on a stretcher.

A day later, Fuentes told CNN the swimmer was “very well,” and medical tests showed everything was “under control”. In addition, Alvarez was eager to participate in the free team final on Friday.

“Anita is fine — the doctors have checked all vital signs, and everything is normal: heart rate, oxygen, sugar levels, blood pressure, etc..…everything is fine,” Fuentes said in a statement on the USA Artistic Swimming Instagram page.

She said Alvarez would see her doctor to get clearance.

“We sometimes forget that this happens in other endurance sports. Marathon, cycling, cross country… we’ve all seen images where some athletes don’t finish, and others, help them get there,” Fuentes said.

“Our sport is no different from any other; only in a pool do we push boundaries and sometimes find them. Anita is feeling well now, and the doctors say she is fine too.”

Fuentes said swimmers in synchronized swimming regularly hold their breath for long periods to improve their lung capacity.

It is not the first time that Fuentes has to save Alvarez. She jumped into another pool at an Olympic qualifying event last year, pulling her to safety along with swimming partner Lindi Schroeder.

Elsewhere, photographer Oli Scarff, who captured rescue photos with an underwater robotic remote camera, told CNN he was shocked to see Alvarez sink.

“It was quite shocking to watch because as soon as I looked at the robotic camera again, I had such a clear view of the scene as everyone in the arena was looking at it through the surface of the water,” says the photographer. Told CNN.

“It went instantly from shooting these beautiful shots of this amazing athlete performing… to then, in the blink of an eye, now we’re shooting a near-death situation,” Scarff said.

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