US swimmer faces medical exam after being rescued by coach when she fainted in pool
The coach who rescued US artistic swimmer Anita Alvarez after she fainted in a pool has said such things “happen” in high-endurance sports and that the athlete now faces further medical examination before knowing whether she can attend the next event on Friday.
Anita Alvarez, 25, had just finished her solo free final routine at the World Aquatic Championship in Budapest on Wednesday when she lost consciousness and sank to the bottom of the pool.
Her coach, Andrea Fuentes, who is a Spanish four-time Olympic medalist in synchronised swimming, leapt into the pool with her clothes still on to save her.
It was the second time Fuentes had to rescue Alvarez as she also fainted during an Olympic qualification event last year.
After passing out on Wednesday, Alvarez was given medical attention beside the pool before being taken away on a stretcher. Fuentes said in a statement on Instagram that Alvarez is well now but faces further medical examination before a decision can be made on whether she can perform in Friday’s team event.
“Anita is much better, she is already at her best. It was a good scare, to be honest,” Fuentes told Spanish newspaper Marca on Wednesday.
On Instagram, the statement said: “Anita is okay. The doctors checked all vitals and everything is normal – [her] heart rate, oxygen, sugar levels, blood pressure et cetera… all is OK.
“We sometimes forget that this happens in other high-endurance sports [such as] 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. Our sport is no different than others, just in a pool.”
Fuentes told the Marca newspaper that she was forced to jump in the water after the lifeguards failed to act.
“I jumped into the water again because I saw that no one, no lifeguard, was jumping in. I got a little scared because she wasn’t breathing, but now she’s fine. She has to rest.”
She told Spanish news outlet El Partidazo de COPE – Programas that the 25-year-old athlete went a whole two minutes without breathing. “I tried to wake her up by slapping her and opening her jaw”, she said.