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Anita Alvarez “wasn’t breathing, but now she’s fine” – Liberation

During the competition in Budapest, the American swimmer became unwell at the end of her free solo synchronized swimming event. Her trainer dived to the bottom of the pool to save her. The sports community is “upset”.

Poetry almost turned into tragedy. American synchronized swimming specialist Anita Alvarez lost consciousness in the water after her performance in the final of her event on Wednesday in Budapest, before being rescued by her coach. “I shouted to the rescuers to get in the water, but they didn’t hear what I said or they didn’t understand,” told Andrea Fuentes, former swimmer and now coach, to the Spanish newspaper Brand, a few hours after the incident.

Alvarez, 25, collapsed in the pool at the Alfred-Hajos swimming complex in Budapest, moments after finishing his performance in the free solo synchronized swimming final. Unconscious, she sank to the bottom of the pool. Faced with the inertia of the assembly and the immobility of the rescuers whom she describes as “flabbergasted”, the quadruple Spanish Olympic medalist did not hesitate for a moment: fully dressed, she dove into the pool.

“She only had water in her lungs”

“I did the fastest apnea of ​​my life, more than when I was training for the Olympics”, she told the microphone of Cadena Ser Wednesday evening. With the strength of his arms, Fuentes brought Alvarez to the surface and tried to get her to breathe. A rescuer finally dived seconds after her. “I was scared because I saw that she wasn’t breathing, but now she’s fine, has since reassured the coach. She only had water in her lungs. When she started to breathe again, everything was fine.

Why didn’t the lifeguards intervene before the coach? “The rules under which rescuers can intervene are very strict,” underlined in a press release Bela Merkely, head of the medical service of the championships. In such a situation, only the judges of the International Federation can decide to interrupt the competition for an intervention. Gold “no signal has been made to that effect”, continued the doctor.

“After the coach jumped into the pool at her own risk, the local lifeguards, sensing the danger, no longer waited for the judge’s signal, but decided to intervene immediately, so that the American competitor be finally got out of the pool with their help,” added Bela Merkely.

Once out of the pool, Alvarez “was immediately taken care of by a medical team” confirmed the International Swimming Federation (Fina), in contact with the convalescent swimmer. The American Artistic Swimming Federation spoke this Thursday in a press release and spoke of a sports community “upset” by this incident.

“She went too far”

“Anita has been examined by medical staff and is still being monitored. She feels much better but is resting today,” said the Federation. “Doctors have checked his vital signs and everything is normal. […]. Everything is fine”, said his coach in an Instagram post.

If the swimmer comes out unscathed, this kind of incident is not a first for her. “It happened once last year, during the Olympic qualifying tournament [à Barcelone, ndlr]. Before that, she had had sporadic problems with fainting, but never in competition. said the Federation.

But for Fuentes, it’s one time too many: “We were very scared, even if it’s not the first time it’s happened. She is an athlete who likes to seek her limits, but this time she went too far. I told him not to do it again. The continuation of the competition is therefore uncertain for Alvarez without the agreement of his doctors. There is only one event left for him: the team free final scheduled for Friday.

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