American artistic and synchronised swimmer Anita Alvarez had to be saved by one of her team’s coaches for the second time in just over a year after fainting in the water during her routine.
The latest incident happened at the Fina World Aquatics Championships in Budapest when the 25-year-old sank to the bottom of the pool at the end of her solo free final routine.
Head coach Andrea Fuentes, a four-time Olympic medallist in synchronised swimming, dived in and pulled Alvarez up towards the surface. A fellow athlete also swam across to assist in the rescue as distraught American spectators looked on.
Alvarez was involved in an almost identical incident in an Olympic qualifying event in Barcelona on June 13 last year, Fuentes again coming to the rescue after she briefly lost consciousness.
"Anita is okay - the doctors checked all vitals and everything is normal - [her] heart rate, oxygen, sugar levels, blood pressure, et cetera… all is OK.
"We sometimes forget that this happens in other high-endurance sports [such as] marathon, cycling, cross country. We all have seen images, where some athletes don't make it to the finish line and others, help them to get there.
"Our sport is no different than others, just in a pool, we push through limits and sometimes we find them.
"Anita feels good now and the doctors also say she is okay. Tomorrow she will rest all day and will decide with the doctor if she can swim free team finals or not."
Alvarez was quickly revived by medics explaining later that she had momentarily blacked out but otherwise felt fine.
Alvarez scored 87.6333 points for her routine to finish seventh in the final. The event was won by Japan's Yukiko Inui, who scored 95.3667.
In a statement on the U.S. Artistic Swimming Instagram page, Fuentes said 25-year-old Alvarez would be assessed by doctors on Thursday before a decision was made on her participation in Friday's team event.