Swimmer Anita Alvarez
In the wake of Anita Alvarez’s exclusion from competing in the team event at the World Championships, Olympic synchronized swimming champion Alla Shishkina has urged U.S. officials to conduct a further investigation into the circumstances surrounding her fainting and needing to be rescued by her coach.
After losing consciousness midway through her routine in Budapest, Hungary, Alvarez competed in the women’s solo free final. It looked like the 25-year-old was going to perish in the water until swimming teacher Andrea Fuentes swam to her rescue.
With the help of another male lifeguard, Fuentes dived into the water and pulled Alvarez to safety. As soon as Alvarez was pulled from the water, he was given prompt medical attention.
At a pre-2020 qualifying tournament in Barcelona, Alvarez fainted for the second time and Fuentes once again came to her rescue. There had been speculation that Alvarez may join the US squad for the team event at the World Championships, but it has now been confirmed that she will not be competing.
FINA’s ‘athlete safety concerns’ prevented her from participating in the team finals, according to USA Artistic Swimming.
Swimmer Anita Alvarez
That’s why three-time Olympic champion Shishkina believes Alvarez needs to undergo additional medical examinations before she can return to the field of play in the future. “I think the explanation must be looked at somewhere deeper,” the Russian remarked in an interview with Sport24. Check the brain’s blood vessels and get an in-depth encephalogram, perhaps?
“If a person loses consciousness like this, then definitely something is wrong, and you should check your health. I sincerely hope Anita is doing well, but I would seriously consider having her get a comprehensive physical examination.
If it’s unsafe to perform, “athletes” will nonetheless do it. Due to Alvarez’s key role in the routine, Shishkina first thought she had no choice but to compete with her team. She also stated that the difficulty was not caused by the warm water. She went on to say, “I think Anita won’t even think about whether she will survive now or not, but will simply perform.”
“I noticed that in the group she’s a member of. Because the person on the support is usually regarded as being vital, she has little choice but to deliver what is expected of her at all times.
Swimmer Anita Alvarez
“As for hot water, I’m afraid not. Competitions in this pool have taken place before. Even though the weather is scorching, the water is refreshing. Temperatures are typically between 26 and 27 degrees. It’s a very relaxing experience.
At the World Championships in Rome, Italy, in 2009, the temperature was +42 degrees outside. And no one on our team fainted.”
Even in the immediate aftermath of such a horrific event, the American team was visibly distraught and appeared to be consoling each other around the pool. Although Fuentes, who has been Team USA’s senior national team head coach since 2018, predicted Alvarez would be desperate to perform and put the awful tragedy behind him, new information confirms Alvarez will not be participating in the routine as previously reported by the media.
This year’s event was won by Japan’s Yukiko Inui, with Alvarez finishing in 7th place Athletes participating in synchronized swimming routines are expected to hold their breath for no longer than one minute at a time, which makes Alvarez’s fainting all the more bizarre.
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