BUDAPEST, Hungary (AP) — Andrea Fuentes prevented tragedy at the swimming world championships with her quick reflexes.
The American coach knew something was wrong when she watched artistic swimmer Anita Alvarez sink motionless to the bottom of the pool during a free event on Wednesday.
Dressed Fuentes dives into the water. She swam to the unresponsive Alvarez, wrapped her arms around her and lifted her to the surface, while another helped her out of the pool.
Two-time Olympian Alvarez fainted.
“It was her best performance ever, she just pushed her limits and found them,” joked Fuentes.
Alvarez received immediate medical attention and felt better Thursday.
“Anita has been evaluated by medical staff and will continue to be monitored. She is feeling better and will rest today,” USA Artistic Swimming told The Associated Press in a statement.
“Watching the medical emergency of 2x Olympian Anita Alvarez yesterday and the subsequent rescue by coach Andrea Fuentes was heartbreaking for our community. She did it over the course of six days. Great solo performance and great performance in four preliminaries and three finals.”
Alvarez finished seventh in Wednesday’s individual final.
“Whether she will play in Friday’s Liberty finals … will be decided by Anita and medical professionals,” USA Artistic Swimming said.
Fuentes also said that Alvarez is far better on Instagram.
“Doctors checked all vital signs and everything was normal: heart rate, oxygen, blood sugar levels, blood pressure, etc…all was fine,” Fuentes wrote. “We sometimes forget that this happens in other high-endurance sports. Marathon, cycling, cross-country… We’ve all seen images of some athletes not reaching the finish line while others help them get there. Our sport is no different than any other sport. , just in the pool, we push the limits and sometimes we find them.”
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