Swimmer faints in pool in terrifying scenes at world championships

·Sports Editor
·4-min read
Anita Alvarez, pictured here fainting in the pool and had to be dragged out by her coach.
Anita Alvarez fainted in the pool and had to be dragged out by her coach. Image: Getty

The swimming world championships have been rocked by terrifying scenes after American Anita Alvarez fainted while in the pool and was rescued from drowning by her coach.

Alvarez was taking part in the final of the women’s solo free artistic event - formerly known as synchronised swimming - when she lost consciousness and began sinking towards the bottom of the pool.

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In dramatic scenes, Alvarez's coach Andrea Fuentes dived into the pool to rescue her and dragged her back to the surface.

Anita Alvarez, pictured here being recovered from the bottom of the pool by her coach.
Anita Alvarez is recovered from the bottom of the pool by her coach. (Photo by OLI SCARFF/AFP via Getty Images)

Once back on dry land the 25-year immediately received medical attention and regained consciousness.

Alvarez is now recovering and reportedly doing well.

Anita Alvarez, pictured here receiving medical attention after fainting in the pool.
Anita Alvarez receives medical attention after fainting in the pool. (Photo by Nikola Krstic/MB Media/Getty Images)

“It was a big scare. I had to jump in because the lifeguards weren’t doing it," Fuentes told Spanish publication MARCA.

"I was scared because I saw she wasn’t breathing, but now she is doing very well,”

“Anita is (doing) much better.”

Anita Alvarez, pictured here being attended to by medical staff after she was rescued from the pool.
Anita Alvarez is attended to by medical staff after being rescued from the pool. (Photo by Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images)

AFP had cameras underwater for the event, which captured the frightening scenes.

Fellow members of the American team were visibly shaken, consoling each other while watching from the stands.

Fuentes would have been wary of the possibility of Alvarez fainting after she had a similar episode at an Olympic qualifying event in Barcelona last year.

Members of United States team, pictured here as Anita Alvarez is attended to by medical staff.
Members of United States team react as Anita Alvarez is attended to by medical staff. (Photo by Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images)

“Unfortunately, I’ve seen it happen to her before,” Alvarez’s mother Karen told WIVB at the time.

“Never in competition, though. I knew right away. On their last element, I could tell something was up.

“It was hard to watch, definitely.”

On that occasion Fuentes was also on hand to help Alvarez, diving into the pool once again.

In her third appearance at the world championships. Alvarez wound up finishing seventh.

Yukiko Inui of Japan won the gold medal.

Aussies win silver in women's 4x200m relay

Elsewhere at the world championships on Wednesday, Mollie O'Callaghan raced to her third medal of the meet in Budapest by spearheading the Australian 4x200m freestyle relay quartet to silver.

Alhough she couldn't bring home the main prize on the anchor leg in Wednesday's final, the 18-year-old star also demonstrated earlier with an amazing swim in the 100m freestyle that a second gold could soon be on its way.

Their efforts helped bring a smile back to the Dolphins after Shayna Jack had earlier been forced to quit the championships after slipping and breaking her hand in a warm-up area.

O'Callaghan took the limelight as she attempted to top off the efforts of Madi Wilson, Leah Neale and Kiah Melverton on the previous three legs of the 4x200 by overhauling American anchor-leg swimmer Bella Sims.

But having competed a breathtaking semi-final of the 100m only 90 minutes earlier, O'Callaghan couldn't get near the flying Sims.

After fine work from Claire Weinstein, Leah Smith and the great Katie Ledecky, who produced a decisive third leg, Sims brought the US home in a championship record 7 minutes 41.45 seconds, well clear of Australia (7:43.86).

with AAP

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