Team USA Artistic Swimmer Faints In The Water And Is Rescued By Her Coach | Why The Culture Don’t Dance In The Water

TOPSHOT - USA's coach Andrea Fuentes (R) swims to recover USA's Anita Alvarez (L), from the bottom of the pool during an incident in the women's solo free artistic swimming finals, during the Budapest 2022 World Aquatics Championships at the Alfred Hajos Swimming Complex in Budapest on June 22, 2022. (Photo by Oli SCARFF / AFP) (Photo by OLI SCARFF/AFP via Getty Images)

Tragedy almost struck beneath the water for Team USA as artistic swimmer Anita Alvarez was rescued by her coach after fainting in the water, and this is why Black folks don’t play that with the water.

The incident happened at the 19th edition of the FINA World Aquatic Championships, which is being held from June 18 to July 3 in Budapest, Hungary. The 25-year-old Alvarez had a fainting spell and sank to the bottom of the pool.

Alvarez had just completed her solo free routine.

Luckily, her coach Andrea Fuentes, jumped into action, diving in her T-shirt and shorts and pulling Alvarez to the surface. Alvarez was then given medical attention before being taken away on a stretcher.

“Anita is much better; she is already at her best. It was a good scare to be honest,” Fuentes said to the Marca newspaper. “I jumped into the water again because I saw that no one, no lifeguard, was diving in. I got a little scared because she wasn’t breathing, but now she’s fine. She has to rest.”

Fuentes updated the world on Alvarez’s condition by making a statement on the USA Artistic Swimming Instagram page saying she was doing well and took some time to recover.

“It was kind of a shocking thing to see because as soon as I looked back down at the robotic camera I had this kind of clear view of the scene while everyone in the arena was watching it through the surface of the water,” remote robotic camera underwater photographer Oli Scarff said to CNN.

“It went immediately from photographing these beautiful pictures of this amazing athlete performing … to then just in a heartbeat, now we’re photographing a near-death situation. I was quite shaken, actually.”

However, FINA later announced that Alvarez would not compete in the team final. The world governing body released a statement.

“FINA convened a meeting that included three representatives of FINA’s Sports Medicine Committee, the FINA Executive Director, the Team USA doctor, the Team USA team leader, and the President of USA Artistic Swimming. The meeting lasted an hour. Following these discussions, FINA determined that Anita Alvarez should not compete (June 24th). The health and safety of athletes must always come first.

“While FINA understands why this decision will have been disappointing to the athlete, it was a decision that was made with her best interests in mind. FINA is delighted that Anita Alvarez has already made such a strong recovery, and looks forward to seeing her in competition again soon.”

The life-saving coach put Spain on the map in a sport dominated by the United States, Canada, and Japan. Andrea Fuentes, along with Gemma Mengual, made Spain only the sixth nation to medal in synchronized swimming at the 2004 Olympics in Athens.

Behind Russia’s untouchable aquatic stars, Anastasiya Dayvdova and Anastasiya Yermakova, Fuentes and Mengual are second. Fuentes has personally claimed three European gold medals before the 2004 Olympics, missing only the gold in the solo competition, taken by her partner Mengual.

With Mengual absent, Fuentes claimed solo medals at the 2010 Europeans (silver) and the 2011 World Championships (silver and bronze).

The rescued swimmer, Anita Alvarez, was participating in two artistic swim events at the 2016 Rio Olympic Games.

Rhett Butler is a Boxing Writer Association of America Journalist, Play-By-Play Commentator, Combat Sports Insider, and Former Mixed Martial Arts and Boxing Promoter. The New York City native honed his skills at various news outlets including but not limited to: TIME Magazine, Money Magazine, CNN's Wolf Blitzer Reports, and more. Rhett hosts the PRITTY Left Hook podcast, a polarizing combat sports insider's take featuring the world's biggest names.