Photographer captured a heroic underwater rescue

A photographer captured the incredible and dramatic rescue of Team USA swimmer Anita Alvarez, who fainted during her routine.

The 25-year-old swimmer’s head coach Andrea Fuentes dived in, fully clothed, to rescue Alvarez.

Anita Alvarez was performing the artistic swimming solo free final at the 2022 FINA World Aquatics Championships in Budapest when she became unconscious and sank to the bottom of the pool.

Anita Alvarez rescue
Credit: Oli Scarff

Fuentes told the Spanish sports paper Macra: ”It was a good scare,” 

“I had to dive because the lifeguards didn’t do it. I was scared because I could see she wasn’t breathing.”

Alvarez was lifted out of the pool by Fuentes, with the help of another swimmer, and placed onto a stretcher to receive medical attention.

simmer rescued
Credit: Zsolt Szigetvary

The incredible underwater shots were taken by AFP photographer Oli Scarff.

“The doctors checked all vitals and everything is normal: heart rate, oxygen, sugar levels, blood pressure, etc … all is okay,” Fuentes said in a statement.

“We sometimes forget that this happens in other high-endurance sports.

“We all have seen images where some athletes don’t make it to the finish line and others help them to get there.

“Our sport is no different than others, just in a pool, we push through limits and sometimes we find them.

Anita Alvarez
Credit: Peter Kohalmi

“Anita feels good now and the doctors also say she is okay. Tomorrow she will rest all day and will decide with the doctor if she can swim free team finals or not. Thank you for all of your well wishes for Anita.” 

Fuentes has actually endured a similar emergency in the pool previously when she lost consciousness at the end of a routine in an Olympic qualification event in 2021. Once again, it was her coach Andrea Fuentes who dove in and rescued her.