United States artistic swimmer Anita Alvarez was saved by her coach Andrea Fuentes after sinking to the bottom of a pool during a solo free routine on Wednesday at the swimming world championships, according to the Associated Press. Fuentes dived into the water and swam to Alvarez who was unresponsive. The United States coach put her arms around Alvarez and lifted her to the water's surface where another person helped her get out of the pool.
"It was her best performance ever, she just pushed through her limits and she found them," Fuentes said jokingly. It was revealed that Alvarez fainted and was immediately given medical attention. She was feeling better on Thursday, and USA Artistic Swimming released a statement on Alvarez's health.
American synchronized swimmer Anita Alvarez faints and sinks to bottom of the pool during World Championships. Her coach, Andrea Fuentes, heroically dives in and saves her. Alvarez is recovering well. pic.twitter.com/ne369qFUhg— Mike Sington (@MikeSington) June 23, 2022
"Anita has been evaluated by medical staff and will continue to be monitored. She is feeling much better and using today to rest," USA Artistic Swimming told the Associated Press. "Watching yesterday's medical emergency of 2x Olympian Anita Alvarez and subsequent rescue by coach Andrea Fuentes was heartbreaking for our community. She gave an exceptional solo performance and competed brilliantly in four preliminary and three final competitions across six days."
Fuentes gave an update on Alvarez's health in an Instagram post. "Anita is okay – the doctors checked all vitals and everything is normal: heart rate, oxygen, sugar levels, blood pressure, etc… all is okay," she said. "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. Tomorrow she will rest all day and will decide with the doctor if she can swim free team finals or not. Thank you for all of your well wishes for Anita."
Alvarez, 25, finished seventh in Wednesday's individual final. She has competed in the 2016 and 2020 Olympic games and was named USA Synchro Athlete of the year along with Mariya Koroleva in 2016 and 2019. She was also named USA Artistic Swimming Athlete of the Year in 2021.