An underwater photographer has captured the dramatic rescue of Team USA swimmer Anita Alvarez, who fainted during her routine.
Alvarez, 25, was performing in the artistic swimming solo free final at the 2022 FINA World Aquatics Championships in Budapest.
At the end of her swim on Wednesday (local time) she became unconscious and sank to the bottom of the pool.
Head coach Andrea Fuentes dived in, fully clothed, to rescue Alvarez.
“It was a good scare,” Fuentes told Spanish sports newspaper Macra.
The underwater rescue was captured by AFP photographer Oli Scarff.
Fuentes brought Alvarez to the surface, where another swimmer helped her take Alvarez to the edge of the pool.
Alvarez was lifted out of the water and onto a stretcher to receive medical attention.
In a statement, Fuentes said Alvarez had a medical emergency but was OK.
“The doctors checked all vitals and everything is normal: heart rate, oxygen, sugar levels, blood pressure, etc… all is okay,” Fuentes said.
“We sometimes forget that this happens in other high-endurance sports.
“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. Thank you for all of your well wishes for Anita.”
This is not the first time Alvarez has had a medical emergency in the pool.
She briefly lost consciousness at the end of a routine during an Olympic qualification event in Barcelona in June 2021.
It was Fuentes again who dived in to rescue her.
Alvarez came seventh on Wednesday with a score of 87.6333.
The women’s solo free was won by Japan’s Yukiko Inui, who scored 95.3667.