U.S. Swimmer Anita Alvarez Blacks Out Underwater At World Championships, Saved By Coach

Team USA coach Anita Fuentes said lifeguards didn't react, so she jumped in to rescue the unconscious athlete at the bottom of the pool.

U.S. artistic swimmer Anita Alvarez fainted underwater Wednesday at the 2022 FINA World Championships in Budapest and was rescued by her coach. (See the images below.)

Alvarez was performing her routine in the solo free final when she lost consciousness and sank to the bottom of the pool, CBS Sports reported.

U.S. coach Andrea Fuentes told the Spanish outlet MARCA that she noticed her athlete wasn’t breathing and, when lifeguards didn’t respond, jumped in to save her.

Fuentes called it a “big scare” but wrote on Instagram that Alvarez was “okay.”

Photos captured the terrifying sequence:

OLI SCARFF via Getty Images
OLI SCARFF via Getty Images
OLI SCARFF via Getty Images
Nikola Krstic/MB Media via Getty Images
Dean Mouhtaropoulos via Getty Images
Dean Mouhtaropoulos via Getty Images
Dean Mouhtaropoulos via Getty Images

Alvarez immediately received medical attention, Yahoo reported.

Fuentes estimated that Alvarez wasn’t breathing for at least two minutes “because her lungs were filled with water.”

“Our sport is no different than others, just in a pool, we push through limits and sometimes we find them,” Fuentes wrote on the Instagram page of USA Artistic Swimming (formerly synchronized swimming) early Thursday.

Fuentes performed a similar rescue on Alvarez at an Olympic qualifying event in Spain last year ― and Alvarez had at least one previous instance of blacking out, but not in competition.

The 25-year-old Alvarez, a 2016 Rio Olympian who was competing in her third world championships, recovered and hoped to compete in the team free event on Friday. But her status had yet to be determined.

Alvarez “will decide with the doctor if she can swim free team finals or not,” Fuentes added.

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