During the final of the free solo, one of the categories of artistic swimming, in the Swimming World Championships that takes place in Budapest, one of the most dramatic scenes of recent times in aquatic sports was experienced. The United States athlete Anita Álvarez had just finished her routine when she passed out before getting out of the water and it was Andrea Fuentes, the team’s coach, who jumped into her pool to rescue her.
Soon after, the authorities reported that the swimmer was in good health. But the one who was in charge of recounting what happened was Fuentes herself, who saved her pupil with the decision to dive to the bottom of the pool on Isla Margarita. “It has been very intense. The doctors have taken her vital signs and at the end of everything she was fine, her heart and blood pressure were normal, but the issue is that she was not breathing, “said the Spanish in statements to the RAC1 media outlet.
“I think she has been at least two minutes without breathing because her lungs were full of water, but we have been able to take her to a good place, she has vomited the water, coughed and that’s it, but it has been a good scare,” added Fuentes, who has been leading the American synchronized swimming team since 2019.
“I just do not believe it. It has been tremendous, Anita was not breathing. I have tried to wake her up by slapping her and opening her jaw, ”she added in her explanation, this time to COPE radio, also from the Iberian country.
Fuentes, 39, is one of the great representatives of artistic swimming in the history of the Olympic Games for Spain. She won four medals, three silver and one bronze, between Beijing 2008 and London 2012.
When asked about how she made the decision to go look for her swimmer, Andrea pointed out the rescuers that the organization has to act in cases like these. “Normally, when you finish a choreography you are so tired that the first thing you want is to breathe, you need it. I have seen that she went to the bottom and I have told myself that it was not normal. I called the lifeguards to jump into the water, but they didn’t react. No one came and I’ve thrown myself, ”she explained.
“I swam towards it as fast as I could, I think I swam the fastest of my life, not even when I was an Olympic medalist, and in the end I caught it. She was already on the ground. She was not breathing,” she added.
At the same time, he explained what could have caused the incident that Álvarez had, which was not his first. “Athletes put the body to the limit, he has discovered today where his limit is. It happened to her a year ago: she just stayed a little on the surface, a little unconscious, but she didn’t sink. I was a meter away, so I took it out. In our sport it is something that can happen because we are without breathing for a long time, with very high pulses, and sometimes the oxygen does not reach where it has to go and we pass out”.
Beyond the free solo final, Anita is also part of the team competition. And as the coach explained, she wants to be part of the test with the rest of her classmates. She “she wants to swim and leave Budapest with her head held high. Everyone is rooting for her to do it.”
“She had a good night but emotionally she is pissed off and frustrated. She wants to do well and that something like this doesn’t happen to her. She says that she is 100% and that she is going to compete but we have to wait to see what the doctors say, ”added Fuentes about Anita’s intention to swim again in the World Championships.