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.
Once back on dry land the 25-year immediately received medical attention and regained consciousness.
Alvarez is now recovering and reportedly doing well.
“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.”
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.
“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.
Absolutely incredible images from @oliscarff today.
A member of Team USA rescues Anita Alvarez from the bottom of the pool after Alvarez fainted during her solo free artistic swimming routine at the Budapest 2022 World Aquatics Championships pic.twitter.com/Tb5pHzcCQ8
— Nathan Howard (@SmileItsNathan) June 23, 2022
Your holy moly moment of the day: 😳
Anita Alvarez’s coach had to jump in and save her after she fainted.
Via @AP: “It was a big scare. I had to jump in because the lifeguards weren't doing it. I was scared because I saw she wasn't breathing, but now she is doing very well." pic.twitter.com/fqCofMXpZG
— J.J. Adams (@TheRealJJAdams) June 22, 2022
OMG. Is she ok?
— Erica ⬆️ 🤌🏼 (@ZiaErica) June 23, 2022
— Peter Leung (@peterleung) June 23, 2022
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).
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