Why the rescuers of the World Swimming Championships did not help Anita Álvarez when she fell unconscious

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Anita Álvarez was rescued by her coach Andrea Fuentes after fainting in the solo swim final of the World Swimming Championship (Photo: AFP)
Anita Álvarez was rescued by her coach Andrea Fuentes after fainting in the solo swim final of the World Swimming Championship (Photo: AFP)

On Wednesday June 23, 2022 the World swimming championshipheld in Budapest, lived one of the tense moments in the history of sport. After having executed her routine in the final of the solo free category, the artistic swimmer Anita Alvarez lost consciousness and plunged into the bottom from swimming pool. Despite the scene rescuers did not enter immediately for help her and it was her trainer Andrea Fuentes who was in charge of taking her to the surface.

At the end of her execution, the 25-year-old athlete sank to the depths of the pool without showing any resistance. At that time, the coach Sources made multiple alerts to lifeguards located around the pool, but noticing their no answer He ran to the pit to jump into the water and carry out the emergency maneuver.

The coach submerged 2.7 meters to be able to bring her pupil to the surface (Photo: AFP)
The coach submerged 2.7 meters to be able to bring her pupil to the surface (Photo: AFP)

According to a statement issued by the International Swimming Federation (FINA) los lifeguards did not act immediately due to a regulatory impediment that could only have been revoked with the express authorization of the body of judges in charge of sanctioning the event.

“Only the judgesand only they, will be able to give the order to jump into the pool to help a competitor who was ill at that time. This protocol is like this to avoid any misunderstanding on the part of the lifeguards,” said the document issued by the federation.

The rescuers arrived to meet Álvarez and Fuentes when they were already on the surface of the pit (Photo: AFP)
The rescuers arrived to meet Álvarez and Fuentes when they were already on the surface of the pit (Photo: AFP)

In that sense, the null reaction of the referees caused the Spanish coach to enter the water to dive 2.7 meters and to be able to take out his pupil. Noting Fuentes’s reaction, rescuers acted and entered the pit, even without having received a judicial signalto collaborate in the rescue of Anita Álvarez.

The differential factor between the tragedy and the rescue was the timely attitude of Andrea Fuentes. In this regard, as indicated by FINA in its document, the current regulation where I know prohibits the action of rescuers without the express authorization of the judges will be reviewed in order to avoid similar situations, or that may have a fatal outcome, in the future.

After submerging, the former Olympic swimmer approached Álvarez and brought her to the surface. As told to the media RAC1made one of the fastest movements in his life to get to where Anita was without showing breath. Once on the surface, one of the lifeguards helped her to carry her to shore and was evaluated by paramedics.

The Mexican roots swimmer was revived after being pulled out of the water (Photo: Lisa Leutner/REUTERS)
The Mexican roots swimmer was revived after being pulled out of the water (Photo: Lisa Leutner/REUTERS)

According to the coach, Álvarez could have stopped breathing for up to 2 minutes because the pool water entered his lungs. “I just do not believe it. He has been tremendous Anita was not breathing. I’ve tried slapping her awake and opening his jaw,” he recalled.

However, once they were able to take her to another place in the sports complex, the athlete expelled the water she had ingested and was able to stabilize. Similarly, the medical staff conducted a series of tests to verify their health status, thanks to which they were able to rule out any type of anomaly.

Álvarez will be able to participate with the United States team in the artistic swimming final (Photo: Marton Monus/REUTERS)
Álvarez will be able to participate with the United States team in the artistic swimming final (Photo: Marton Monus/REUTERS)

“Athletes put the body to the limit, he has discovered today where his limit is. It happened to her a year ago: she just stayed a little on the surface, a little unconscious, but she didn’t sink. I was a meter away, so I took it out. In our sport it is something that can happen because we are without breathing for a long time, with very high pulses, and sometimes the oxygen does not reach where it has to go and we pass out, ”he affirmed.

At the end of the competition, she was assigned seventh place in the final, but it is not the only opportunity to get on the podium. On Friday June 24, the American team will participate in the final of artistic swimming and, after having received the go-ahead from the doctors, was included in the list of participants.

KEEP READING:

Who is Anita Álvarez, the athlete who starred in a dramatic moment in the World Swimming Championships
The desperate moment in which a coach rescues a swimmer who fainted in the middle of the World Swimming Championships
Shocking story about the rescue of the swimmer who fainted in full competition: “She was 2 minutes without breathing”

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