Anita Alvarez, Team USA Swimmer Who Fainted During World Championships, Gives Health Update

Anita Alvarez
Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images

Anita Alvarez assured fans that she's doing OK after a scary incident in the pool earlier this week. 

Alvarez, who is a member of the USA Artistic Swimming team, was rescued by her coach, four-time Olympic medal winner Andrea Fuentes, after fainting near the end of her routine at the World Aquatics Championships in Budapest, Hungary. Underwater cameras caught the dramatic rescue as Alvarez hung motionless in the water while Fuentes dove in and pulled her up to the surface.

On Thursday, Alvarez took to her Instagram Story to say she was "OK 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, noting that she planned to continue on with the competition despite the incident. "Whether that's in the water for me or on the sidelines will be determined by myself and expert medical staff, but either way @artswimusa and I have a job to finish and I hope everyone can understand that."

However, USA Artistic Swimming CEO Adam Andrasko also posted a message on the team's social media pages, stating that Alvarez would not be competing. 

"We are most thankful that Anita is healthy. Anita is a tremendous competitor and we could not be more proud of her," read the message in part. "It is unfortunate that she will not have the opportunity to compete in her final event of the competition, but she will return to the pool in the near future and inspire us all once again."

In an interview with CNN following the incident, Fuentes said that while Alvarez fainting shocked the world, it's not uncommon in the event, as swimmers are forced to hold their breath for long periods of time. 

Fuentes said she first noticed something was wrong because Alvarez's feet seemed paler than normal. "I was already paying attention, and then I saw her going down," she told the news network. "I didn't even ask myself if I should go or not, I just thought that I was not going to wait."

USA's Anita Alvarez is recovered from the bottom of the pool by coach after fainting during her routine
USA Artistic Swimming team member Anita Alvarez
OLI SCARFF/AFP via Getty Images

As for whether she thought the lifeguards acted quickly enough, Fuentes replied, "I know Anita very well and I know the sport very well. They did their job, I did mine."

Oli Scarff, who captured the pictures of the rescue with a remote robotic camera underwater, also spoke to CNN about the terrifying moment. 

"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," the photographer said. "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."


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