A swimmer was rescued from drowning after her coach bravely saved her life.
Team USA swimmer Anita Alvarez had fainted during an artistic swimming solo free final at a tournament in Budapest.
She sank to the bottom of the pool as spectators watched on in horror.
Alvarez’s coach, Andrew Fuentes, jumped into the water to save the 25-year-old, beating lifeguards to the scene.
She managed to quickly reach the swimmer and bring her to the surface.
There, with the help of a competition assistant, she was safely brought to the edge of the pool.
Her coach, Fuentes, spoke to Spanish radio about the dramatic incident and said the ordeal ‘felt like an hour.’
She said: ‘She only had water in her lungs, once she started breathing again everything was ok. She’s said she wants to swim in the final.
‘It felt like a whole hour. I said things weren’t right, I was shouting at the life guards to get into the water, but they didn’t catch what I said or they didn’t understand.
‘She wasn’t breathing and had a really high pulse rate; I went [to her] as quickly as I could, as if it were an Olympic final.’
When Alvarez was taken out the water her jaw was locked in place, the coach added.
She was moved to her side to help her breath and then carried away from the pool on a stretcher.
Fuentes added: ‘She fainted from the effort. Today we’ve seen where the limit is; this is what being an athlete is, we want to see where the limit of the human body is, and she’s someone who likes to take it to the limit.’
Alvarez had been competing in the 2022 FINA World Aquatics Championships when the incident took place.
She had scored 87.6333 points for the routine and finished seventh in the final.
Following the fainting scare, the US swim team released a statement saying Alvarez ‘feels good now’.
Fuentes had added: ‘Anita is okay – the doctors checked all vitals and everything is normal – [her] heart rate, oxygen, sugar levels, blood pressure, et cetera… all is OK.
‘We sometimes forget that this happens in other high-endurance sports [such as] marathon, cycling, cross country.
‘We all have seen images where some athletes don’t make it to the finish line and others help them to get there.
‘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.’
Last year, the 25-year-old fainted during an Olympics qualifying event in Barcelona, where she was also rescued by her coach.
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