USA artistic swimmer Anita Alvarez, who fainted underwater at the World Championships on Wednesday, was prohibited from participating in the final in Budapest on Friday.
Alvarez (center) is pictured congratulating a teammate during the finals on Friday morning.
Alvarez, 25, fainted and sank to the bottom of the pool after completing her solo routine during the Budapest 2022 World Aquatics Championships on Wednesday.
She was dramatically rescued by her coach, Andrea Fuentes, who dove into the water and scooped her off the pool floor.
Fuentes, a four-time Olympic medalist in swimming, later said she dove into the water after the lifeguards did nothing to help Alvarez.
“I think she was at least two minutes without breathing because her lungs were full of water,” said Fuentes, adding that the swimmer’s heart was beating and her vital signs were OK.
Alvarez recovered quickly and had planned to participate in the final on Friday after she was cleared medically.
In an update on Instagram on Friday, Alvarez wrote, “know that I am okay and healthy! I appreciate all of the messages of support and hope everyone can respect that my team and I still have two more days of competition to be focused on here in Budapest.”
She said she hoped people would understand that USA Artistic Swimming and she “have a job to finish” – whether it is in the water or on the sidelines.
However, a FINA official said the swimming organization asked team USA to remove Alvarez from the competition after she underwent a full medical examination Friday morning. The FINA official said he did not know the result of her medical exam.
Alvarez told NBC’s “Nightly News” on Thursday that everything went black after she completed her routine.
“And then, I remember going down and just being … kinda like, ‘Uh oh.’ Like, ‘I don’t feel too great.’ And, that’s the last thing I remember, actually,” she said.
Fuentes said she rescued Alvarez during a similar incident last year.
“I’ve seen it happen to her before,” Alvarez’s mother told WIVB-TV. “Never in competition, though. I knew right away. On their last element, I could tell something was up.”