An American artistic swimmer named Anita Alvarez narrowly escaped loss of consciousness and drowned during a swimming championship. She was saved by her coach, who jumped into the pool just in time and pulled her back safely.
Now, the swimmer’s coach Andrea Fuentes shares the red flags Alvarez saw during his performance that prompted him to swoop into action and save him.
lvarez was competing at the 2022 FINA World Championships in Budapest, Hungary, on 22 June when the incident took place. The 25-year-old swimmer was at the end of her solo free final routine when she fainted and started drowning at the bottom of the pool.
Speaking to the BBC, coach Andrea Fuentes, a four-time Olympic medalist in synchronized swimming, shared that he thought something was amiss before leaping into the pool and saving Alvarez. When Alvarez was about to finish her solo routine, Fuentes said, “I was like, ‘I don’t think there’s going to be blood. [as] ‘normal’… and then when it’s over, usually all you want to do is actually take a breath when it’s finished [but] She was going down instead of going up.”
Highlighting that Alvarez’s behavior was not normal, the coach shared that swimmers like Alvarez liked to take a breather after finishing a performance, but when he did not, Fuentes knew something was not right. . The signs were enough for Fuentes to act in time and dive into the pool fully clothed. “I just, like, problem-solving mode. I swam as fast as I could and got it out,” Fuentes said.
Fuentes shared that as soon as she was taken out, she checked Alvarez’s pulse to make sure she was breathing and her heart was beating. But, since Alvarez was not breathing, Koch turned his head to one side to get the water out of his lungs.
Fuentes said that Alvarez was “very tight on his jaw” so he tried to wake him up and massaged his jaw to give him some relief. “He coughs and [threw up] water, but the heart never stopped, ”said Fuentes.
This was not the first time that Fuentes had to act swiftly and save Alvarez. Last year, the coach jumped into the pool to save Alvarez while she was performing at an Olympic qualification event.
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