Team USA swimmer Anita Alvarez, coach speak out after pool faint
Team USA’s artistic swimmer Anita Alvarez said she’s feeling “much better” after she fainted and started sinking at the World Aquatic Championship in Budapest on Thursday.
Heart-stopping underwater images of Alvarez’s coach Andrea Fuentes diving into the pool fully clothed to save her sparked mass concern over the New York native’s health.
The young swimmer was not breathing when Fuentes brought her to the surface – but she soon managed to cough up the water she had inhaled.
The 25-year-old two-time Olympian spoke out on Instagram following the frightening ordeal, saying she’s “okay and healthy.”
“Hope everyone can respect that my team and I still have two more days of competition to be focused on here in Budapest,” she wrote on her Instagram Story.
“Whether that’s in the water for me or on the sidelines will be determined by myself and expert medical staff, but either way @artswimusa and I have a job to finish and I hope everyone can understand that.”
Alvarez is now awaiting official word to see if she’s been cleared to compete in Friday’s women’s team free final.
Team USA Artistic Swimming organization said watching the incident unfold was “heartbreaking for our community,” however assured fans that Alvarez was “already feeling much better.”
“Anita has been evaluated by medical staff and will continue to be monitored. Whether or not she will compete in the free team final on Friday, June 24th will be determined by Anita and expert medical staff, ”the organization said in a statement.
The coach who rescued Alvarez, fellow Olympian Fuentes, 39, spoke out on Instagram following the ordeal.
“What a day !!! I think I had all kind of possible emotions, ”she wrote alongside a series of images of the Team USA squad.
“Anita’s solo was so good too, it was her best performance ever, she just pushed through her limits and she found them but Anita is ok and the doctors also said she is fine.”
“Now it’s time to rest and recover,” Fuentes added.
Fuentes, a Spanish swimmer with four Olympic medals to her name, has been head coach for Team USA since 2018.
The veteran swimmer was critical of the Budapest lifeguards’ slow reaction to Alvarez’s apparent distress.
Photographer Oli Scarff, who shot the images from the frightening ordeal, said it was “a shocking thing to see.”
“As soon as I looked back down at the robotic camera I had this kind of clear view of the scene while everyone in the arena was watching it through the surface of the water,” he told CNN.
“It went immediately from photographing these beautiful pictures of this amazing athlete performing… to then just in a heartbeat, now we’re photographing a near-death situation. I was quite shaken, actually. “
Alvarez previously said she hopes to compete in the 2024 Olympics.