Powerful Photos Capture the Moment Coach Dove Into the Pool To Rescue a Swimmer Who Fainted

Athletes push themselves to their limits and sometimes past their limits. That’s what they do. That’s how they break records and improve on their personal best. That’s why their performances are so impressive, but sometimes we don’t appreciate just how difficult certain sports are.

Did you know that synchronized swimmers have to hold their breath for long periods of time while in the water? When you think about it, it makes sense. Obviously they have to hold their breath while underwater. Maybe that doesn’t seem like such a big deal, but think about holding your breath for long periods of time repeatedly while exercising. Sounds pretty intense.

Recently, American swimmer Anita Álvarez was competing in the World Aquatics Championships in Budapest. She was doing a solo performance which meant she was the only person in the water at the time. Her coach watched at the side of the pool. Her team watched her performance. Lifeguards were standing by prepared to take action if necessary, but when it became necessary, according to Álvarez’s coach, Andrea Fuentes, they didn’t do their job.

Fuentes saw Álvarez sinking to the bottom of the pool. She knew something was wrong and that Álvarez needed help. She told the Spanish newspaper Marca, “It was a big scare. I had to jump in because the lifeguards weren’t doing it.” She added, “I was scared because I saw she wasn’t breathing, but now she is doing very well.”

Álvarez had fainted while in the pool. Fuentes jumped in the pool wearing a t-shirt and shorts. She dove to the bottom and pulled Álvarez to the surface. Another swimmer jumped in the pool to help Fuentes pull Álvarez over to the edge and out of the water.

Fuentes later wrote a statement about the rescue that was posted on the USA Artistic Swimming Instagram page along with a picture of Álvarez in competition. Fuentes wrote, “Anita is okay – the doctors checked all vitals and everything is normal: heart rate, oxygen, sugar levels, blood pressure, etc… all is okay.” She added, “Tomorrow she will rest all day and will decide with the doctor if she can swim free team finals or not.”

Fuentes spoke to Good Morning America about the rescue and how Álvarez is doing now. Watch the video below to see images of this amazing rescue and to hear what Fuentes was thinking at the time.