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His trainer saves an American swimmer who sank to the bottom of the pool: NPR


Team USA coach Andrea Fuentes swims towards Anita Alvarez, who sank to the bottom of the pool on Wednesday in the women’s freestyle solo artistic swimming final at the Budapest 2022 World Aquatic Championships.

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His trainer saves an American swimmer who sank to the bottom of the pool: NPR

Team USA coach Andrea Fuentes swims towards Anita Alvarez, who sank to the bottom of the pool on Wednesday in the women’s freestyle solo artistic swimming final at the Budapest 2022 World Aquatic Championships.

Oli Scarff/AFP via Getty Images

American artistic swimmer Anita Alvarez was finishing her routine in the free solo final of the World Aquatic Championships on Wednesday when the two-time Olympian suddenly sank to the bottom of the pool, unconscious.

Team USA coach Andrea Fuentes immediately jumped into action as he jumped into the water. Fuentes – who has won Olympic and world medals for his native Spain – sprinted to reach Alvarez, hugged her from behind and kicked from the bottom of the pool, sending them to the surface.

“I saw that the lifeguards weren’t jumping in the water because they were paralyzed. I was yelling at them on the other side to get in the water, now! I saw them stunned, so I jumped in the water and straight towards her,” Fuentes told El Pais, citing an interview with a Spanish radio station.

“I saw how she was sinking and swam as fast as I could,” Fuentes added. “I did the fastest freediving of my life, faster than when I was preparing for the Olympics.”

His trainer saves an American swimmer who sank to the bottom of the pool: NPR

Team USA coach Andrea Fuentes brings Anita Alvarez from the bottom of the pool to the 2022 World Aquatics Championships in Budapest.

Oli Scarff/AFP via Getty Images


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Oli Scarff/AFP via Getty Images

His trainer saves an American swimmer who sank to the bottom of the pool: NPR

Team USA coach Andrea Fuentes brings Anita Alvarez from the bottom of the pool to the 2022 World Aquatics Championships in Budapest.

Oli Scarff/AFP via Getty Images

The two were then helped to the edge of the pool, where Alvarez was placed on a stretcher.

The frightening situation and dramatic rescue sparked an outpouring of concern and admiration for the coach’s quick-wittedness. Fuentes expressed his thanks Thursday, saying in a post on the team’s Facebook page that Alvarez was feeling much better, with normal vital signs and oxygen and sugar levels.

What Alvarez went through is similar to what athletes in other high endurance sports sometimes go through, Fuentes said.

“Our sport is no different from any other, just in a pool we push boundaries and sometimes we find them,” she said.

In Budapest, Alvarez, 25, competed in seven events – four preliminary strokes and three finals – over six days. She is also set to compete in Friday’s free team final – but USA Artistic Swimming says whether she will swim in that event “will be determined by Anita and the expert medical staff.”

His trainer saves an American swimmer who sank to the bottom of the pool: NPR

Team USA swimmer Anita Alvarez is brought to the surface by coach Andrea Fuentes. “Our sport is no different than any other,” Fuentes said, “just in a pool we push boundaries and sometimes we find them.”

Oli Scarff/AFP via Getty Images


hide caption

toggle caption

Oli Scarff/AFP via Getty Images

His trainer saves an American swimmer who sank to the bottom of the pool: NPR

Team USA swimmer Anita Alvarez is brought to the surface by coach Andrea Fuentes. “Our sport is no different than any other,” Fuentes said, “just in a pool we push boundaries and sometimes we find them.”

Oli Scarff/AFP via Getty Images

Alvarez is a vital member of the USA Artistic Swim Team. She competed for Team USA in Rio and Tokyo; in 2021, she was named USA Artistic Swimming Athlete of the Year.

Alvarez has passed out in the pool before – in fact, when it happened during last summer’s Olympic qualifier in Barcelona, ​​it was Fuentes who saved her. Similar to this week, Alvarez was carrying out a grueling workload. She later said she was affected by a lack of rest and the conditions at the pool.

“Honestly, I thought I was sleeping,” Alvarez said after that ordeal. “I started hearing people say, ‘It’s going to be okay.’ I thought, ‘Stop telling me that! I’m trying to sleep.’ Then I realized no, I was still in the pool.”

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