World Championships in Budapest: after an incident: relief for synchronized swimmers

World Cup in Budapest
After incident: relief for synchronized swimmers

The unconscious Anita Alvarez had to be pulled out of the water by her trainer and rescue personnel. Photo: Anna Szilagyi/AP/dpa

© dpa-infocom GmbH

US synchronized swimmer Anita Alvarez is doing well again after her collapse. A day later, the incident was hotly debated. The rescue operation is said not to have been coordinated.

The relief was great after the collapse of synchronized swimmer Anita Alvarez from the USA at the World Championships in Budapest was unscathed.

The two-time Olympic champion, who passed out immediately after her free solo freestyle in the World Championship pool, sank and was rescued by her trainer Andrea Fuentes and another person, did not rule out starting in the team final on June 24th. The American wanted to rest for a day, “and then decide with the doctor whether she can swim the team final in the free program or not,” said trainer Andrea Fuentes in a statement on Instagram.

Don’t be afraid of going under

“We knew relatively quickly that nothing had happened to her. Nevertheless, the American team is observed with different eyes, talking to other athletes about the incident. But we’re not afraid that something like this could happen to us,” said Marlene Bojer, who finished tenth in the solo freestyle. Her duet partner Michelle Zimmer added after the German duo had placed twelfth in the free program: “We often go beyond our limits in training. That’s how we know it can happen. But you shouldn’t be afraid of going under in our sport anyway.”

US trainer criticizes safety precautions

Trainer Fuentes had given the all-clear on Thursday morning: “The doctors have checked all vital signs and everything is normal: heart rate, oxygen, sugar levels, blood pressure, etc. … everything is fine,” Fuentes wrote on Instagram. In an interview with the Spanish trade newspaper “AS”, she sharply criticized the safety precautions of the competition.

“When I saw her sink, I looked over at the rescuers, but I saw that they just stared and didn’t react. I thought: “Are you going to jump in or not?” » Then she acted. “That’s how I am, I can’t just stare,” said Fuentes, who came from Spain and was celebrated as a heroine by the media in her home country.

The rescue operation was not easy, she emphasized. The rescuer, who jumped into the pool after a while, “didn’t really help much”. “You had to put her on her side so she couldn’t swallow water and breathe. He wanted to put her on her back and there was a little absurd fight about which position we should put her in.”

When asked by the dpa about the events, the world association Fina reacted cautiously. The Fina is in close contact with Alvarez, her team and the medical staff, it said. “Ms. Alvarez was treated immediately by a medical team at the venue and is in good condition.”


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