In a startling incident at the 2022 World Aquatics Championships, renowned artistic swimmer Anita Alvarez collapsed mid-routine, descending into the pool’s depths. But thanks to the rapid response of her coach, Andrea Fuentes, what could have been a tragedy was averted.
Andrea Fuentes, not just a coach but a decorated athlete herself, having secured four Olympic medals for Spain in her prime, was immediately lauded as a hero for her actions. As Alvarez stunned the audience with her performance, her sudden loss of consciousness shocked everyone. Recognizing the gravity of the situation and seeing that the shock immobilized the lifeguards, Fuentes didn’t hesitate. She recounted the ordeal to Spanish radio show El Larguero, saying, “With the lifeguards frozen in place, I shouted at them to dive in immediately.” Unable to wait, Fuentes plunged into the water, making what she termed the “fastest freedive” of her life, even quicker than in her Olympic days, to rescue Alvarez.
Fortunately, Alvarez’s condition stabilized soon after the incident. After competing in multiple events, an exhaustive medical check-up confirmed she fainted from exhaustion. However, as a precaution, World Aquatics decided against allowing Alvarez to continue in the championship finals. USA Artistic Swimming CEO Adam Andrasko expressed his relief and pride: “Anita is a stellar athlete, and while it’s sad she won’t compete further here, we look forward to her future endeavors.”
That future was pretty close. Recently, USA Artistic Swimming unveiled the lineup for their senior national team for the 2023 World Championships and Pan American Games. Alvarez’s name shines on the list, and the steadfast Coach Fuentes remains by her side. Both are set to win accolades and make Team USA proud. An enthusiastic Fuentes shared, “Guiding this formidable team is an honor. We aim to make Team USA the best it’s ever been.”
To recap, Anita Alvarez’s dramatic incident at the 2022 World Aquatics Championships saw her being saved by the swift intervention of Coach Andrea Fuentes. Alvarez has since recovered and is set to compete again in upcoming championships, with Fuentes continuing as the head coach.