Heart-stopping moment hero coach leaps into pool after US swimmer faints underwater

23 June 2022, 10:00 | Updated: 23 June 2022, 10:03

Anita Alvarez fainted underwater during a competition and was rescued by her coach
Anita Alvarez fainted underwater during a competition and was rescued by her coach. Picture: Getty

By Daisy Stephens

This is the heart-stopping moment a coach leapt into a pool to save an American swimmer after she fainted underwater.

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Anita Alvarez, 25, lost consciousness on day six of the Budapest 2022 Fina World Championships on Wednesday.

The USA artistic swimmer was then rescued by her coach Andrea Fuentes, as well as an unnamed man, who leapt to her aid and claimed the lifeguards did nothing.

Alvarez fainted and sank to the bottom of the pool
Alvarez fainted and sank to the bottom of the pool. Picture: Getty
Coach Fuentes spotted what was happening and leapt to her aid
Coach Andrea Fuentes spotted what was happening and leapt to her aid. Picture: Getty

The coach, 39, dragged the swimmer to safety after entering the water fully-clothed.

Fuentes pulled Alvarez to the surface
Fuentes pulled Alvarez to the surface. Picture: Getty
An unnamed man also helped rescue the swimmer
An unnamed man also helped rescue the swimmer. Picture: Getty
Fuentes said she was "scared because I saw [Alvarez] wasn't breathing"
Fuentes said she was "scared because I saw [Alvarez] wasn't breathing". Picture: Getty

Alvarez regained consciousness shortly after being taken out the water.

She received first aid and is recovering well.

Fuentes is quoted in a Spanish newspaper as saying: "I was scared because I saw she wasn’t breathing, but now she is doing very well."

She also said: "I had to jump in because the lifeguards weren’t doing it."

Alvarez received medical treatment after the rescue
Alvarez received medical treatment after the rescue. Picture: Getty

Fuentes, herself a four-time Olympic medallist, told Spanish radio that Alvarez had water in her lungs when she was rescued but "once she started breathing again everything was okay" - although she added "it felt like a whole hour".

"I said things weren’t right," she said.

"I was shouting at the lifeguards to get into the water, but they didn’t catch what I said or they didn’t understand.

Fuentes said Alvarez planned to rest on Thursday but was still hoping to compete in Friday's team event after further medical checks.

Team United States were shocked
Team United States were shocked. Picture: Getty

In an Instagram post afterwards, Fuentes joked that Alvarez "just pushed through her limits and she found them".

"Anita is ok and the doctors also said she is fine," she went on.

"We all know it happens in other sports: cycling, marathon, track and field… some don’t make it to the final line and some even finish crawling or passing out.

"Our sport is very hard too. Now it’s time to rest and recover.

"Tomorrow is highlight day and free duet finals! Ready to give our best".

The artistic swimmer has since recovered
The artistic swimmer has since recovered. Picture: Getty