American swimmer Anita Alvarez was rescued from the bottom of the pool by her coach at the FINA World Aquatic Championships in Budapest, Hungary, after she lost consciousness, according to Reuters.
Coach Andrea Fuentes jumped into the pool after she saw the 25-year-old artistic swimmer sink to the bottom at the end of her routine in the women’s solo free event.
Fuentes, a four-time Olympic medalist in synchronized swimming, lifted Alvarez to the surface before helping bring her to the edge of the pool.
Alvarez received medical attention beside the pool, Reuters reported, and was subsequently carried off in a stretcher.
It was the second time Fuentes has had to rescue Alvarez, according to Reuters, after she leapt into the pool during an Olympic qualification event last year and pulled her to safety, along with the American’s swim partner Lindi Schroeder.
Fuentes told Spanish broadcaster Cadena COPE in a radio interview: “I don’t think I’ve swum as fast ever before, even when I got Olympic medals and well, in the end, I was able to get her up and she wasn’t breathing. Later, came the lifeguard.”
In a statement on the US Artistic Swimming Instagram page, Fuentes said Alvarez would rest on Thursday and consult her doctor to see if she would be fit to compete in the swim free team finals, which are scheduled to take place Friday, according to the website of the sport’s governing body, FINA.
“Anita is okay – the doctors checked all vitals and everything is normal: heart rate, oxygen, sugar levels, blood pressure, etc … all is okay,” Fuentes said in the statement.
“We sometimes forget that this happens in other high-endurance sports. 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,” Fuentes added.
“Our sport is no different than others, just in a pool, we push through limits and sometimes we find them. Anita feels good now and the doctors also say she is okay.”
Alvarez finished in seventh place behind Japan’s Yukiko Inui, who claimed gold, while Ukrainian Marta Fiedina and Evangelia Platanioti of Greece came in second and third respectively, according to the International Swimming Federation (FINA) website.