Drama and rescue: US synchronized swimmer faints after her freestyle

Shocking pictures: The American synchronized swimmer Anita Alvarez runs out of strength after her intensive freestyle in Budapest – and she sinks to the pelvic floor. Luckily, your trainer switches immediately.

Was rescued by her trainer Andrea Fuentes (left): synchronized swimmer Anita Alvarez.

IMAGO/GEPA pictures

Anita Alvarez’s pictures go around the world, shocking and disturbing at the same time. Completely exhausted after her freestyle World Championships, the 25-year-old synchronized swimmer with Mexican roots suddenly sinks and floats motionless to the bottom of the pool before her trainer fishes her out of the water in a spirited rescue operation.

“I had to jump in because the lifeguards wouldn’t do it,” Andrea Fuentes said of Wednesday’s accident.

Earlier, she dived into the pool in full gear and brought an unconscious Alvarez back to the surface. “I was scared because I saw that she wasn’t breathing, but she’s very well now,” said coach Fuentes. All vital functions have been checked. Heart rate, oxygen, blood sugar level, blood pressure – everything is “normal”.

“I think she hasn’t breathed for at least two minutes”

But the shock persists – and is still in the bones of those involved and their entire team. In the minutes after the terrible incident, they had tearfully feared for the life of their 25-year-old teammate, who had previously passed out in competition during the 2021 Olympic qualification.

Anita Alvarez

Practices a physically demanding sport: Anita Alvarez.
IMAGO/GEPA pictures

“I think she didn’t breathe for at least two minutes because her lungs were full of water,” Fuentes said. Then her protégé “vomited the water, coughed – and that was it, but it was a big shock.”

The German synchronized swimmer Marlene Bojer, who had achieved her best place in the World Championships with tenth place, experienced the drama of Budapest up close. “I think that’s really bad,” said the Munich native. You’ve noticed something like this several times: “When you see it live, your heart really stops and you just think: For God’s sake.”

We cover everything with the smile, the emotions and the music.

The German synchronized swimmer Marlene Bojer on the hardships of a freestyle

At the end of a freestyle, you are “absolutely at the limit in synchronized swimming. Muscular, from the head, from the energy – everything is just out there,” says Bojer: “We cover everything with the smile, the emotions and the music. But like that In a situation you can see that we are also physically at the limit and that our sport demands the highest performance from us.”

Review of 2010

There was a similar case with the German water jumpers. In 2010, national coach Lutz Buschkow jumped into the pool for a rescue operation in Rostock after Maria Kurjo hit her head on the tower and fell unconscious into the water.

The incident from twelve years ago went off lightly – similar to that with Alvarez. “Tomorrow she will rest all day and decide with the doctor whether she can swim freely in the team final or not,” said Fuentes, thanking “for all the good wishes for Anita”.

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