Anita Alvarez was not breathing after her performance in the free solo artistic swimming final at the Budapest Worlds on Wednesday June 22. As the young woman sank to the bottom of the water, her trainer jumped into the water to rescue her, after trying to warn the rescuers, in vain.
“We were very scared. I had to jump because the lifeguards weren’t doing it.“, explained Andrea Fuentes, coach of the American team to the Spanish newspaper Marca. “She wasn’t breathing (…) I went as fast as I could, like it was for an Olympic final. I felt like it lasted a whole hour. I said things were wrong, I shouted to the lifeguards to get in the water, but they didn’t hear what I said or they didn’t understand.“
A stretcher carried Anita Alvarez to the poolside medical center, leaving teammates and spectators in shock. The US swim team has since released a reassuring statement about Alvarez’s health. “She only had water in her lungs, once she started breathing again, everything was fine“, underlined Andrea Fuentes.
The trainer explained to a Spanish radio that her swimmer had become unwell due to the effort provided during her performance and that the latter, after rest and medical examinations Thursday, was still hoping to compete in Friday’s team event.
At 25, Anita Alvarez is taking part in her third world championships. She had already lost consciousness several times during the qualifying rounds at the Olympic Games last year in Barcelona.