Team USA swimmer, Anita Alvarez, just went through some of the most terrifying two minutes of her life. However, she also just witnessed what it’s like to have an earthly “guardian angel.”
On June 22, Alvarez was competing in the final of the women’s solo free event at the World Aquatic Championships in Budapest, Hungary when suddenly, she stopped moving and started sinking to the bottom of the pool. Alvarez’s coach, four-time Olympic medalist Andrea Fuentes, immediately knew that this was not normal, so she jumped into the pool fully clothed.
Artistic swimmer Anita Alvarez lost consciousness at the end of her solo routine during the ongoing World Championships and was drifting to the bottom of the pool— Aniket Mishra (@aniketmishra299) June 24, 2022
Seeing no lifeguard around, her coach, Andrea Fuentes, a 4 time Olympic medalist quickly jumped in and saved her🙏🏼 pic.twitter.com/3U2RmDYe5i
With the help of another competitor, they were able to pull Alvarez up to the surface, and this is when she realized that the two-time Olympic swimmer had, in fact, fainted.
Then, as soon as she made it to the surface, the artistic swimmer got much-needed medical attention.
“I was like give everything, until the very end, and I did that,” said Alvarez. “Then, I remember going down and just being like ‘uh, oh, like I don’t feel too great.’ And that is literally the last thing I remember.”
Despite the unfortunate event, Alvarez still managed to finish in seventh place in the competition.
“Watching yesterday’s medical emergency of 2X Olympian Anita Alvarez was heartbreaking for our community,” USA Artistic Swimming wrote on Instagram. “Anita gave an exceptional solo performance and has competed brilliantly in four preliminary and three final competitions across six days of the 2022 FINA World Championship event.”
This is one of the most powerful photos I’ve seen in a long time. It embodies the true human spirit of love and sacrifice. It also reminds me that we all need “rescuing” from time to time. Glad Anita Alvarez is okay and thankful to Andrea Fuentes for her act of selflessness. pic.twitter.com/ijE0ya55r5— Brad Hardin (@chinsobelife) June 23, 2022
Thankfully, this event was just a scare and Alvarez is now healthy and doing well. However, she knows that if it wasn’t for her coach, the outcome could’ve been much different.
“I mean I say this all the time to her and to other people, just so grateful to have her as a coach,” said Alvarez.
We are sure she means these words, as this wasn’t the first time that the artistic swimmer fainted during a competition — and also not the first time that her coach jumped to her rescue!
A similar situation happened in June 2021 in Barcelona at the FINA Olympic Games Artistic Swimming Qualification Tournament.
“This sport is extremely hard, sometimes people pass out,” said coach Fuentes. “Our job is to discover our limits, that’s what we do as athletes.”
Unfortunately, Alvarez could not compete in her final event of the competition due to “athlete safety concerns.” But we are so happy that she is recovering from this scary event and that she is getting an outpouring of support from her team, her loved ones, and millions of people all over the world!
“Anita is a tremendous competitor and we could not be more proud of her,” wrote the USA Artistic Swimming team on Instagram.
We could not agree more with these words! We can’t wait to see Alvarez in future competitions.
As for coach Fuentes, she is just a superhero — two times over!
Share coach Fuentes’ heroic story with a friend.
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