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Old footage shows US synchronised swimmer Anita Alvarez collapsing last year in Barcelona

Footage from last year shows American synchronized swimmer Anita Alvarez collapsing during an Olympic qualifier in Barcelona – with coach and four-time Olympic medalist Andrea Fuentes also saving her on that occasion.

  • Anita Alvarez was dragged out of the pool by her coach in Budapest yesterday
  • Remarkably, it is not the first time that the 25-year-old has fallen in competition
  • Her coach, Andrea, Fuentes had to save Alvarez in a similar fashion during a qualifying event for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games in Barcelona in June 2021
  • After her latest collapse in Hungary, Fuentes revealed that Alvarez stopped breathing for ‘at least two minutes’ during the ordeal

Old footage of Anita Alvarez collapsing in the pool last year has come to light again after the American synchronized swimmer passed out during the World Championships in Budapest.

Coach Andrea Fuentes had to rescue Alvarez after lifeguards failed to respond when she sank in the pool. She subsequently regained consciousness and is reportedly recovering well.

Notably, however, it is not the first time this has happened, as Fuentes and one of Alvarez’s teammates had to save Alvarez, 25, in a similar fashion during a qualifying event for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games in Barcelona in June 2021.

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Coach Andrea Fuentes dived into the pool last year to rescue Anita Alvarez after she passed out

Coach Fuentes and one of Alvarez's teammates helped the 25-year-old synchronized swimmer out of the water after she passed out while performing a routine

Coach Fuentes and one of Alvarez’s teammates helped the 25-year-old synchronized swimmer out of the water after she passed out while performing a routine

“Unfortunately, I’ve seen it happen to her before, but never in competition,” Alvarez’s mother Karen said at the time.

‘I knew right away. As for their last element, I could tell something was up. It was certainly hard to watch.’

Most synchronized swimming requires athletes to hold their breath for no more than one minute at a time.

But after her latest collapse in Hungary, Fuentes revealed that Alvarez stopped breathing for “at least two minutes” during the ordeal following her performance in the women’s solo free event.

‘I tried to wake her up. Well, I hit her and opened her jaw. But the truth is, it wasn’t until after we got to the emergency room that she didn’t breathe for at least two minutes,” Fuentes said during a Spanish-language interview last night.

Alvarez is at the bottom of the pool at the World Championships in Budapest after passing out mid-season yesterday

Alvarez is at the bottom of the pool at the World Championships in Budapest after passing out mid-season yesterday

Alvarez coach Fuentes said she had to jump in because 'the lifeguards weren't doing it'

Alvarez coach Fuentes said she had to jump in because ‘the lifeguards weren’t doing it’

The American coach, who was critical of the lifeguards after the near-tragedy, had said last night that a decision whether Alvarez would swim in tomorrow’s free team final would be made on medical advice.

But today, the 39-year-old mother-of-one said Alvarez was determined not to leave the World Championships.

Fuentes told the Spanish daily El Mundo: “She doesn’t want to leave here with the photo of her unconscious at the bottom of the pool. In any case, Anita does a lot of pirouettes and very little apnea, so she’ll almost certainly join in.”

Meanwhile, three-time Olympic synchronized swimming champion Alla Shishkina has urged US officials to conduct more thorough checks on Alvarez after her latest collapse in Hungary.

Alvarez (center) regained consciousness shortly after his rescue and is recovering well

Alvarez (center) regained consciousness shortly after his rescue and is recovering well

Members of the US swim team watching the event screamed as they watched in horror as Alvarez passed out in the pool at the end of her routine

Members of the US swim team watching the event screamed as they watched in horror as Alvarez passed out in the pool at the end of her routine

“I think the reason must be looked for somewhere deeper,” the Russian said told Sport24† ‘Maybe check the blood vessels in the brain, do a deep encephalogram.

‘If someone loses consciousness in this way, then of course everything is not okay, you have to look at your health. I wish Anita was okay, but I’d consider a full investigation.

“Athletes are people who, even if it’s dangerous to perform, will do it anyway.”



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