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US swimmer rescued by coach after fainting in pool during world championships

Team USA swimmer Anita Alvarez lost consciousness during her routine and sank to the bottom of the pool.
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A coach just saved a swimmer’s life after she fainted in the water during a competition. 

Anita Alvarez, 25, an Olympic artistic swimmer, was in the middle of her routine at the FINA World Aquatic Championships in Budapest, Hungary, when she lost consciousness and began sinking to the bottom of the pool.

When Anita Alvarez (left) sank to the bottom of the pool, her coach, Andrea Fuentes, jumped into the pool to pull her up.Oli Scarff / AFP via Getty Images
Fuentes pulled Alvarez up to the surface.Oli Scarff / AFP via Getty Images

Her Team USA swimming coach, Andrea Fuentes, realized something was wrong, and she dove into the pool fully clothed to rescue Alvarez. 

Anita Alvarez
Fuentes and another person rescued Alvarez from the bottom of the pool.Peter Kohalmi / AFP - Getty Images

The dramatic rescue was captured on camera, with underwater photos showing Alvarez drifting to the bottom of the pool and Fuentes, and later another person, pulling her up to the surface.

Alvarez was placed on a stretcher and attended to by medical staff.

Image: Budapest 2022 FINA World Championships: Artistic Swimming - Day 6
Alvarez was pulled onto a stretcher while still in the water.Dean Mouhtaropoulos / Getty Images
Budapest 2022 FINA World Championships: Artistic Swimming - Day 6
Alvarez appeared to be unconscious when she was lifted from the pool.Dean Mouhtaropoulos / Getty Images

Fuentes, a former Olympian herself, later shared an update on Alvarez’s condition on the US Artistic Swimming Instagram page.

“Anita is okay — the doctors checked all vitals and everything is normal: heart rate, oxygen, sugar levels, blood pressure, etc… all is okay,” she wrote. 

“We sometimes forget that this happens in other high-endurance sports,” she added. “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, we push through limits and sometimes we find them," she said.

Budapest 2022 FINA World Championships: Artistic Swimming - Day 6
Alvarez performing her solo free final routine before she lost consciousness.Dean Mouhtaropoulos / Getty Images

Fuentes also said Alvarez “feels good now” and is resting all day Thursday in the hopes of regaining her strength for the team finals. 

This isn’t the first time Alvarez has lost consciousness during a competition. She also fainted briefly in the water during an Olympic qualifying event in Barcelona last year, when she was also rescued by Fuentes.