Team USA artistic swimmer Anita Alvarez said she feels “much better” after she passed out and started sinking at the World Aquatics Championships in Budapest on Thursday.
The breathtaking underwater images of Alvarez coach Andrea Fuentes diving into the pool fully clothed to save her ignited mass concern for the New York native’s health.
The young swimmer was not breathing when Fuentes brought her to the surface, but she soon managed to cough up the water she inhaled.
The 25-year-old two-time Olympian spoke on Instagram after the appalling ordeal, saying she is “okay and healthy.”
“I hope everyone can respect the fact that my team and I still have two more days of competition to focus on here in Budapest,” he wrote in his Instagram story.
“Whether he’s in the water for me or on the sidelines will be determined by me and the experienced medical staff, but either way @artswimusa and I have a job to finish and I hope everyone can understand that.”
Alvarez is now awaiting official news to see if she has been cleared to compete in the women’s team free final on Friday.
Team USA’s artistic swimming organization said watching the incident unfold was “heartbreaking for our community”, however it assured fans that Alvarez “felt much better already”.
“Anita has been evaluated by medical staff and will continue to be monitored. Whether or not she will compete in the free team final on Friday 24 June will be decided by Anita and experienced medical personnel, “the organization said in a statement.
The coach who saved Alvarez, fellow Olympian Fuentes, 39, spoke on Instagram after the ordeal.
“What a day !!! I think I felt all kinds of emotions possible,” he wrote along with a series of images of the Team USA squad.
“Anita’s solo was so good too, it was her best performance ever, she just pushed her limits and found them, but Anita is fine and the doctors said she’s fine too.”
“Now is the time to rest and recover,” Fuentes added.
Fuentes, a Spanish swimmer with four Olympic medals to her credit, has been the head coach of Team USA since 2018.
The veteran swimmer was critical of the Budapest lifeguards’ slow reaction to Alvarez’s apparent distress.
Photographer Oli Scarff, who took the pictures of the frightening ordeal, said it was “a shocking thing to see”.
“As soon as I looked at the robotic camera I got this kind of clear view of the scene as everyone in the arena was looking at it across the surface of the water,” he told CNN.
“He immediately went from photographing these beautiful images of this amazing athlete performing … and then he moved on in a moment, now we’re photographing a near-death situation. I was quite shaken, actually. “
Alvarez previously said he hopes to compete in the 2024 Olympics.