Sports Desk, Jun 23 (EFE).- Spanish coach Andrea Fuentes on Thursday said she did not hesitate to pull US synchronized swimmer Anita Alvarez to safety after she fainted in the pool at the World Aquatics Championships.
Alvarez, 25, was performing her solo free final routine in Budapest when she lost consciousness and sank to the bottom of the pool on Wednesday.
“I didn’t think at that moment,” four-time Olympic medallist Fuentes told Efe.
“I just told myself I had to get there as fast as I can, grab her, lift her to the surface and make sure she is breathing.
“The only thing I thought about was to get to her.”
Fuentes was the first to reach Alvarez even before the lifeguards, who eventually leaped in to help drag the swimmer to the surface.
The 39-year-old said: “Now that I think about it, it’s normal, because they (the lifeguards) don’t know this sport as much as I do and they don’t swim as fast as me either, so it’s normal that they didn’t act fast.
“That’s why I jumped because I saw that they weren’t going to and I told myself I couldn’t wait for a second longer.”
Fuentes, who has been coaching the USA artistic team since 2018, also helped Alvarez regain consciousness once she was out of the pool.
“I tried to wake her up in every way, with screams, slaps.
“Then the medical team and I did a drill involving squeezing the nail of the small finger very hard because it is a point that activates adrenaline and that is how she woke up suddenly and began to shout ‘Ah, you’re hurting me!’”
Fuentes said that Alvarez is feeling good and that she is eager to compete with her teammates on Friday.
“The truth is that she is very well, although it may not seem like it, she is perfect. She has slept all morning and wants to swim tomorrow.
“The doctors have done all the tests and say that she is fine, but it is something that we still have to assess.”
While Fuentes and the rest of the USA team’s coaching staff decide whether Alvarez will compete on Friday in the group final, the Spanish coach is working to not let this incident affect her team.
In 2008, Japanese synchronized swimmer Hiromi Kobayashi fainted in the pool when she was performing at the Beijing Olympics, Fuentes recounted.
“Our sport is very hard and sometimes these things happen, it already happened with a Japanese swimmer at the Beijing Games in the group final.
“Here, it was a bit different because Anita was alone in the pool.”EFE