Artistic swimmer Anita Alvarez has been banned from competing in the World Championships after fainting in a pool.
The Team USA athlete was nearing the end of her routine in the solo free final in artistic swimming on Wednesday (22 June) when she fell unconscious and sank to the bottom of the pool.
After lifeguards failed to respond immediately, Alvarez's coach, Andrea Fuentes, jumped in the pool while fully clothed to rescue her.
However, while Alvarez may have expected to compete in today's final (24 June), the swimmer has been excluded by the International Swimming Federation just hours prior to the event, reports Daily Mail.
Neither Alvarez nor her coach are yet to comment on not being included.
Fuentes, a four-time Olympic medallist, admitted to Spanish newspaper Marca that 'it was a big scare'.
“I was scared because I saw she was not breathing, but now she is doing very well.
“She only had water in her lungs, once she started breathing again everything was OK.”
Speaking to Spanish radio, she said: “It felt like a whole hour. I said things weren’t right, I was shouting at the lifeguards to get into the water, but they didn’t catch what I said or they didn’t understand.
“She wasn’t breathing. I went as quickly as I could, as if it were an Olympic final.”
Alvarez was given medical attention poolside before being taken away on a stretcher.
In a statement on the US Artistic Swimming Instagram page, Fuentes said: “Anita is OK – the doctors checked all vitals and everything is normal: heart rate, oxygen, sugar levels, blood pressure, etc… all is OK.
“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 OK.
“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, who finished seventh in the final, previously fainted following a routine during an Olympic qualifier in Barcelona last year, while Fuentes also rescued her on that occasion.
Featured Image Credit: Getty
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