An American artistic swimmer's FINA World Aquatic Championships routine ended in dramatic fashion after she lost consciousness while in the water.
According to The Guardian, after she'd completed her solo free final in Budapest on Wednesday (Jun. 22), 25-year-old Anita Alvarez fainted and sunk to the bottom of the pool.
Noticing something was amiss, United States team coach Andrea Fuentes dived in fully clothed and pulled the athlete to the surface.
This is one of the most powerful photos I’ve seen in a long time. It embodies the true human spirit of love and sacrifice. It also reminds me that we all need “rescuing” from time to time. Glad Anita Alvarez is okay and thankful to Andrea Fuentes for her act of selflessness. pic.twitter.com/ijE0ya55r5— Brad Hardin (@chinsobelife) June 23, 2022
CNN reported that Alvarez — a two-time Olympian — received medical attention beside the pool and was carried off on a stretcher.
"It was a good scare, I had to dive because the lifeguards didn't do it. I was scared because I could see she wasn't breathing," said Fuentes according to Marca.
"But she's feeling great now, she's at her best."
According to NZ Herald, Alvarez stopped breathing underwater for about two minutes.
On Instagram, U.S. artistic swimming team said that Alvarez had been evaluated by medical staff and would continue to be monitored.
She placed seventh at the solo event.
Second fainting incident involving athlete
Alvarez was involved in an almost identical incident in an Olympic qualifying event in Barcelona on June 13, 2021, NZ Herald reported.
Fuentes also came to the rescue in this first incident after the swimmer briefly lost consciousness.
Wants to compete on Jun. 24
Despite Wednesday's incident, Fuentes told CNN that Alvarez "really wants" to compete in the swim-free team finals, due to take place on Jun. 24; doctors have cleared her to do so.
The U.S. artistic swimming team had previously said that the decision on whether Alvarez will compete depended on the athlete and expert medical staff.
"We sometimes forget that this happens in other high-endurance sports. Marathon, cycling, cross country," wrote Fuentes on Instagram.
"We all have seen images where some athletes don’t make it to the finish line and others help them to get there. Our sport is no different than others, just in a pool, we push through limits and sometimes we find them."
Top image by Oli Scarff/AFP via Getty Images