Coach Andrea Fuentes reflected on her rescue at the World Swimming Championships in Budapest.
Magic and Fear: American swimmer Anita Alvarez lost consciousness in the water after her performance in the synchronized swimming final on Wednesday in Budapest, before being rescued by her trainer. “I called for lifeguards to get in the water, but they didn’t hear what I said or didn’t understand“Andrea Fuentes, a former swimmer and now a coach, told the Spanish newspaper Marka few hours after the incident.
Alvarez, 25, collapsed in the pool of the Alfred-Hajos swimming complex in Budapest, moments after finishing his performance in the synchronized freestyle swimming final. Unconscious, he sank to the bottom of the pool.
Images that have traveled the world
In the face of the inertia of the assembly and the immobility of the lifeguards, whom he describes as “stunned“, The quadruple Spanish Olympic medalist did not hesitate for a moment: well dressed, she dived into the pool. “I did the fastest apnea of my life, more than when I was training for the Olympics“he said on the microphone of Cadena Ser on Wednesday evening.
Using the force of his arms, Fuentes pulled Alvarez to the surface and tried to make her breathe. A rescuer finally dived a few seconds after her. “I was scared because I saw he wasn’t breathing, but he’s fine now“has reassured the coach ever since.”He only had water in his lungs, when he breathed again, everything was fine“.
Why didn’t the lifeguards intervene in front of the coach? “The rules under which lifeguards can intervene are very strict“, stressed in a press release Bela Merkely, head of the medical service of the championships. In this situation, only the judges of the International Federation can decide to interrupt the competition for an intervention. Gold”no sign has been made in this regard“, continued the doctor.”After the coach jumped into the pool at her own risk, the local lifeguards, sensing the danger, no longer waited for the judge’s signal, but decided to intervene immediately, so that the American competitor finally he came out of the pool with his help.added Bela Merkely.
Once out of the pool, Alvarez “he was treated immediately by a medical teamconfirmed the International Swimming Federation (FINA), in contact with the convalescent swimmer.
“Has gone too far»
The U.S. Artistic Swimming Federation spoke in a statement Thursday and referred to a sports community. “annoyingfor this incident. “Anita has been examined by medical staff and is still being monitored. She feels so much better but rests today“said the Federation.”Doctors checked their vital signs and everything is normal (…). Everything is fine“, his coach said in an Instagram post.
If the swimmer comes out unscathed, this type of incident is not the first for her. “This happened once last year, during the Olympic qualifying tournament (in the note of the Barcelona editor) (…). Before that, he had sporadic fainting problems, but never in competition“, specified the Federation. And for Fuentes, it is once too:We were terrified, even if it wasn’t the first time it had happened. She’s an athlete who likes to push her limits, but this time she’s gone too far. I told him not to do it anymore.Therefore, the continuation of the competition is uncertain for Alvarez without the agreement of his doctors. He has only one event left: the free team final scheduled for Friday.
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