Swimmer, Anita Alvarez has been banned from competing in the World Championships, after she fainted in the pool during her last performance.
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It all started when Alvarez was representing Team USA in the 2022 FINA World Championships, when she suddenly fell unconscious underwater.
Terrified onlookers watched as she sank to the bottom of the pool. Alvarez’s coach, Andrea Fuentes was the first to respond, jumping in to rescue the swimmer, fully clothed, due to the lifeguards allegedly being too slow.
After confirming Alvarez had been given the all-clear by doctors, Fuentes shared her thoughts on the whole ordeal, telling MARCA it was a “big scare.”
She added: “I had to jump in because the lifeguards weren’t doing it. I was scared because I saw she wasn’t breathing, but now she is doing very well.”
Coach Andrea Fuentes, revealed that Alvarez stopped breathing for “at least two minutes” during the ordeal following her performance in the women’s solo free event.
After lifting Alvarez to the surface on her own, the pair were met by another swimmer who helped Fuentes get her to the edge of the pool where she was lifted out and given medical attention.
The coach later released a statement, revealing she has ordered the athlete to “rest all day” today, she shared: “The doctors checked all vitals and everything is normal: heart rate, oxygen, sugar levels, blood pressure, etc … all is okay.”
“We sometimes forget that this happens in other high-endurance sports. We all have seen images, where some athletes don’t make it to the finish line and others, help them to get there,” Fuentes continued.
“Our sport is no different than others, just in a pool, we push through limits and sometimes we find them. Anita feels good now and the doctors also say she is okay. Tomorrow she will rest all day and will decide with the doctor if she can swim free team finals or not. Thank you for all of your well wishes for Anita.”
The swimmer also reflected back on the incident and said: “I remember feeling like it was a really good performance.”
“Like, my best one by far and not only just how I performed but just that I was actually enjoying it and really living in the moment too. So, because of that, I feel really happy and really proud,” she said.
“But I was like give everything until the very end and I did that and then I remember going down and just being like, kind of like, ‘uh-oh, I don’t feel too great. And that’s literally the last thing I remember,” the swimmer later revealed.
Alvarez then regained consciousness after being recovered from the water, she received immediate first aid and is reportedly recovering well.
According to CBS Sports, Alvarez underwent tests to identify the reason she lost consciousness so suddenly, as it was not the first time this happened…
She also fainted back in June 2021, at the end of her routine during the Olympic qualification event, resulting in Fuentes once again jumping in to save her.
Alvarez was banned from taking part in the Championships…
While the swimmer may have been expected to compete in the final (24 June) Alvarez was banned by the International Swimming Federation just hours prior to the event.
Alvarez and her coach are yet to comment on the banning…
Bela Merkely, head of the Hungarian medical service, said: “Different types of athletes tolerate different amounts of oxygen,” she further added that “others are more sensitive and Anita Alvarez is one of them.”
“This sport is probably not one for her,” she concluded.