U.S. artistic swimmer Anita Alvarez is OK after fainting at the end of her free solo final routine at the world championships in Budapest on Wednesday.
Two people dove in to help get her out of the pool.
“Anita is okay – the doctors checked all vitals and everything is normal: heart rate, oxygen, sugar levels, blood pressure, etc… all is okay,” U.S. head coach Andrea Fuentes said in a statement from USA Artistic Swimming. “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. 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.”
Images showed a woman grabbing Alvarez near the bottom of the pool and pulling her up to the surface. Spanish newspaper Marca reported that Fuentes, a retired Spanish Olympic artistic swimmer, was one of the people who dove in.
“It was a good scare, I had to dive because the lifeguards didn’t do it,” Fuentes said, according to the newspaper. “I was scared because I could see she wasn’t breathing, but she’s feeling great now, she’s at her best.”
Last June, Alvarez briefly lost consciousness at the end of a routine at an Olympic qualification event, leading Fuentes to dive into the pool, fully clothed, to help.
Alvarez’s mom said after that event that it had happened to Alvarez before outside of competition, according to a CBS affiliate in Buffalo near Alvarez’s hometown.
Alvarez and Lindi Schroeder placed 13th in the duet in Tokyo, four years after Alvarez and Mariya Koroleva took ninth. Solo artistic swimming is not on the Olympic program.
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