Olympic Coach Recalls “Nightmare” of Saving Passed Out Swimmer


A gold-worthy rescue.

Following Olympian Anita Alvarez‘s frightening fainting incident in the pool in Budapest, the Team USA coach who dramatically jumped in to save the artistic swimmer described the experience as a “difficult nightmare.”

Andrea Fuentes, 39, told People that when she spotted the athlete sinking to the bottom of the pool during the 2022 World Aquatics Championships on June 22, her “only goal was to fix it.”

“I thought that she was just doing a huge effort and I was proud of her because that’s the world champs, it’s the final,” she recalled, noting that she noticed Alvarez’s feet were a little bit more pale than usual. So I was like, she’s pushing through her limit as much as she can.”

It wasn’t until the 26-year-old didn’t come up for a breath after the end of her routine that Fuentes knew something was seriously wrong.

“I realized that she was not okay because in our sport, it’s really important to breathe when you finish,” she explained. “So as soon as she went down, I immediately recognized that she passed out.”

She added, “I know her very well, I see her a lot of hours every day.”


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