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A swim coach who jumped in to save a swimmer has assured she is doing 'very well' after fainting in the pool during the 2022 FINA World Championships.
Team USA swimmer Anita Alvarez 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.
Lifeguards at the event are said to have failed to respond immediately, prompting Alvarez's coach, Andrea Fuentes, to jump in the pool while fully clothed.
Speaking to MARCA after the event, Fuentes described the event as a 'big scare'.
The coach continued (translated): "I had to jump in because the lifeguards weren't doing it. I was scared because I saw she wasn't breathing, but now she is doing very well."
Images of the dramatic scene were captured by AFP photographer Oli Scarff, who documented Alvarez sinking in the pool before Fuentes brought her to the surface.
Another swimmer assisted Fuentes in taking Alvarez to the edge of the pool, after which she was lifted out of the water and put on to a stretcher to receive medical attention.
The coach later announced plans for the swimmer to 'rest all day' on Thursday, saying in a statement: "The doctors checked all vitals and everything is normal: heart rate, oxygen, sugar levels, blood pressure, etc … all is okay."
"We sometimes forget that this happens in other high-endurance sports. We all have seen images where some athletes don't make it to the finish line and others help them to get there," Fuentes continued.
"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."
The swimmer is set to go through testing in the next few days to try and figure out the cause of her fainting, CBS Sports reports, though the incident on Wednesday is not the first time she has lost consciousness in a pool.
Alvarez previously lost consciousness at the end of a routine during an Olympic qualification event in June 2021, when Fuentes again dived in to rescue her.
The swimmer ended up coming in seventh place on Wednesday with a score of 87.6333.