Photographer captures dramatic underwater rescue of unconscious swimmer Anita Alvarez

Photographer captures dramatic underwater rescue of unconscious swimmer Anita Alvarez

An underwater photographer has captured the dramatic rescue of Team USA swimmer Anita Alvarez, who fainted throughout her routine.

Alvarez, 25, was performing within the inventive swimming solo free ultimate on the 2022 FINA World Aquatics Championships in Budapest.

At the top of her swim on Wednesday (native time) she turned unconscious and sank to the underside of the pool.

Swimmer Anita Alvarez performs a dance in the pool.
Alvarez was performing within the ladies’s solo free ultimate.(Reuters: Lisa Leutner)

Head coach Andrea Fuentes dived in, absolutely clothed, to rescue Alvarez.

“It was a good scare,” Fuentes informed Spanish sports activities newspaper Macra.

A woman floats unconscious near the surface of a pool.
Alvarez fainted on the finish of her routine.(Reuters: Oli Scarff)

The underwater rescue was captured by AFP photographer Oli Scarff.

A woman swims towards another woman who is unconscious at the bottom of a pool.
Team USA head coach Andrea Fuentes dived in to avoid wasting Alvarez.(AFP: Oli Scarff)
A woman swims out to grab another unconscious woman at the bottom of a pool.
Fuentes reaches out to seize Alvarez.(AFP: Oli Scarff)
A woman, carrying an unconscious woman, swims from the bottom of a pool to the surface.
Fuentes pushes off the underside of the pool and swims Alvarez to security.(AFP: Oli Scarff)
A woman, carrying an unconscious woman, swims from the bottom of a pool to the surface.
Fuentes reaches the floor with Alvarez.(AFP: Oli Scarff)

Fuentes introduced Alvarez to the floor, the place one other swimmer helped her take Alvarez to the sting of the pool.

Alvarez was lifted out of the water and onto a stretcher to obtain medical consideration.

Two people hold up an unconscious woman in a pool.
Another swimmer comes to assist Fuentes.(AFP: Peter Kohalmi)
An underwater view of two people holding up an unconscious swimmer at the surface of a pool.
Fuentes and one other swimmer preserve Alvarez’s head above the floor of the water.(AFP: Oli Scarff)
An unconscious woman is pulled from a swimming pool by three people and lifted onto a stretcher.
Alvarez is pulled from the water to obtain medical consideration.(Reuters: Lisa Leutner)

In a press release, Fuentes mentioned Alvarez had a medical emergency however was OK.

“The doctors checked all vitals and everything is normal: heart rate, oxygen, sugar levels, blood pressure, etc … all is okay,” Fuentes mentioned.

“We sometimes forget that this happens in other high-endurance sports.

“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 medical doctors additionally say she is okay. Tomorrow she is going to relaxation all day and can determine with the physician if she will swim free crew finals or not. Thank you for all of your nicely needs for Anita.” 

Spectators cry and hold each other as they watch a woman pulled unconscious from the pool.
Fans and teammates watch on as Alvarez is pulled from the water unconscious.(AP: Anna Szilagyi)

This is not the first time Alvarez has had a medical emergency in the pool.

She briefly lost consciousness at the end of a routine during an Olympic qualification event in Barcelona in June 2021.

It was Fuentes again who dived in to rescue her.

Alvarez came seventh on Wednesday with a score of 87.6333.

The women’s solo free was won by Japan’s Yukiko Inui, who scored 95.3667.


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