A frightening scene unfolded during the 2022 FINA World Championships in Athens, Greece, as Team USA swimmer Anita Alvarez fainted near the end of her solo routine in the artistic swimming final, causing her lifeless body to sink to the bottom of the pool.
Things quickly escalated as lifeguards at the event failed to act in a timely manner. With time running out and Alvarez in need of help, her coach, Andrea Fuentes, jumped into the pool to save the day.
Photos from the event captured Fuentes jumping into the deep pool with her clothing on, swimming anxiously to the bottom, and retrieving Alvarez’s body.
The two women eventually made it to the surface and were assisted by another swimmer, who helped get Alvarez to safety.
Here are the images which pretty much tell the entire story:
Fuentes spoke to MARCA about the frightening event afterwards, calling it a “big scare.”
“I had to jump in because the lifeguards weren’t doing it,” she told the outlet. “I was scared because I saw she wasn’t breathing, but now she is doing very well.”
The last part is great news, as Fuentes relayed the positive update regarding Alvarez, while also saying, “”The doctors checked all vitals and everything is normal: heart rate, oxygen, sugar levels, blood pressure… All is okay.”
That’s a relief. We often take the insane athleticism of these athletes for granted, never really taking into consideration the fact that they swim in such deep pools, where anything could go wrong in a moment’s notice—just like it did here.
In this case, thankfully Andrea Fuentes was around to save the day. She’s a true American hero.