Coach dives in to rescue US swimmer at World Championships

Budapest, Hungary - A fully-clothed swim coach dove into the pool during competition after US Olympic swimmer Anita Alvarez lost consciousness during her routine and sank to the bottom.

Coach Fuentes (r.) recovered swimmer Anita Alvarez from sinking to the bottom of the pool during an incident at the 2022 World Aquatics Championships on Wednesday.
Coach Fuentes (r.) recovered swimmer Anita Alvarez from sinking to the bottom of the pool during an incident at the 2022 World Aquatics Championships on Wednesday.  © OLI SCARFF / AFP

Scary scenes unfolded at the Aquatic World Championship in Budapest when a coach was forced to jump into the pool to save her athlete's life.

On Wednesday, 25-year-old Anita Alvarez was performing in the final of the women’s solo free artistic event at the FINA World Aquatic Championships when her routine ended prematurely as she fainted in the water.

Losing consciousness, the Olympian's body went completely limp as she quickly began sinking towards the bottom of the pool.

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Team USA's coach Andrea Fuentes realized the swimmer's unusual behavior and heroically sprung into action, diving into the pool without hesitating to rescue Alvarez.

The dramatic event was captured on camera, with underwater photos showing Alvarez drifting to the bottom of the water and Fuentes, later accompanied by another helper, pulling her up to the surface.

Alvarez was placed on a stretcher and immediately attended to by medical staff.

Anita Alvarez recovers from scary accident

Coach Andrea Fuentes (l) recovers swimmer Anita Alvarez (c), from the bottom of the pool during an incident at the Aquatic World Championships.
Coach Andrea Fuentes (l) recovers swimmer Anita Alvarez (c), from the bottom of the pool during an incident at the Aquatic World Championships.  © PETER KOHALMI / AFP

Fuentes, a four-time Olympic medalist herself, later shared a positive update on Alvarez’s condition on the USA Artistic Swimming Instagram page.

"Anita is okay — the doctors checked all vitals and everything is normal: heart rate, oxygen, sugar levels, blood pressure, etc … all is okay," she wrote.

"We sometimes forget that this happens in other high-endurance sports," she added. "Marathon, cycling, cross-country… we all have seen images where some athletes don’t make it to the finish line and others help them to get there.

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

Alvarez was named Team USA's 2021 Artistic Swimming Athlete of the Year and is a two-time Olympian who competed at the 2016 Rio and 2021 Tokyo Games.

Alvarez will be resting all day Thursday in the hopes of regaining her strength for the upcoming team finals, according to the coach.

Cover photo: PETER KOHALMI / AFP

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