US swimmer who was saved by hero coach after fainting speaks out on terrifying ordeal

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Anita Alvarez has praised the actions of her coach after she was saved from drowning during her routine at the 2022 World Championships. Alvarez fainted and had to be heroically rescued by coach Andrea Fuentes during the event in Budapest, Hungary. 

The 25-year-old was competing in the final of the women’s solo free event when she lost consciousness midway through her routine. The US star has suffered similar health scares in the past, and she began to sink to the bottom of the pool before her coach saved her life.

Fuentes leapt into the pool fully clothed and dramatically swam to the bottom to grab Alvarez. She dragged the Olympic synchronised swimmer to the surface and got her to safety along with the help of another shocked figure in attendance.

Alvarez quickly regained consciousness and received immediate medical attention. She is now resting after the terrifying ordeal, but heaped praise on the heroic actions of her coach.

“I mean I say this all the time to her and to other people, [I’m] just so grateful to have her as a coach,” Alvarez told NBC Nightly News. “When I found out she was coming to be our coach, it was like, I didn’t believe it.”

When recalling the incident, Alvarez said: “I remember feeling like it was a really great 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. And then at the very end, I do remember like the very last arm I did, I gave like, it’s such a simple small arm.

“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 actually.”

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Fuentes won four Olympic and 16 World Championship medals during her illustrious career before the Spaniard retired in 2013. She revealed the American will continue to compete at the World Championships after the dramatic scenes.

The 39-year-old, who is the most decorated swimmer in Spanish national team history, said: “She doesn’t want to leave here with the photo of her unconscious at the bottom of the pool. In any case, in the team events Anita does a lot of pirouettes and very few apneas so she will almost certainly compete.”

Fuentes has worked as the senior national team head coach for Team USA since 2018.

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