2022 World Swimming Championships: an American artistic swimmer saved from drowning by her coach


Anita Alvarez lost consciousness at the end of her program on Wednesday in Budapest.

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Anita Alvarez was not breathing after her performance in the free solo artistic swimming final at the Budapest Worlds on Wednesday June 22. As the young woman sank to the bottom of the water, her trainer jumped into the water to rescue her.

“We were very scared. I had to jump because the lifeguards weren’t doing it.“, explained Andrea Fuentes, coach of the American team to the Spanish newspaper brand. “She wasn’t breathing (…) I went as fast as I could, like it was for an Olympic final. I felt like it lasted a whole hour. I said things were wrong, I shouted to the lifeguards to get in the water, but they didn’t hear what I said or they didn’t understand.

The coach of the American artistic swimming team, Andrea Fuentes, rescues Anita Alvarez, who lost consciousness during her solo program, on June 22, 2022, at the Worlds in Budapest (Hungary).  (PETER KOHALMI / AFP)

A stretcher carried Anita Alvarez to the poolside medical center, leaving teammates and spectators in shock. The US swim team has since been reassuring. She only had water in her lungs, once she started breathing again, everything was fine“, underlined Andrea Fuentes.

The coach explained to a Spanish radio that her swimmer had felt unwell due to the effort made during her performance. After rest and medical examinations Thursday, Anita Alvarez still hopes to compete in Friday’s team event.

At 25, Anita Alvarez is taking part in her third world championships. She has already lost consciousness several times during the qualifying events at the Olympics, last year in Barcelona.



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