Anita Alvarez, U.S. artistic swimmer, OK after fainting in pool at world championships

Anita Alvarez
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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, including U.S. head coach Andrea Fuentes, a retired Spanish Olympic artistic swimmer. Fuentes rescued Alvarez from the bottom of the pool.

“I remember feeling like it was a really great performance, like my best one by far,” Alvarez, a two-time Olympian, told NBC News. “At the very end, I do remember the very last arm I did. It’s such a simple, small arm, but I was giving everything until the very end, and I did that, and then I remember going down and just being kind of like, uh-oh, I don’t feel too great. And that’s literally the last thing I remember, actually.”

Fuentes said doctors deemed all of Alvarez’s vitals to be normal, according to a USA Artistic Swimming statement.

“It was a good scare, I had to dive because the lifeguards didn’t do it,” Fuentes said, according to Marca. “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.

“We sometimes forget that this happens in other high-endurance sports,” Fuentes said in the statement. “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.”

Alvarez’s mom said after the 2021 Olympic qualification 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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