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Kenmore Olympian Anita Alvarez passes out in pool at world championships

(WIVB) – Anita Alvarez, a two-time Olympian from Kenmore, had a scare Wednesday when she passed out in the pool during the FINA World Championships in Budapest, Hungary. But her coach said on social media that Alvarez is doing fine and has been cleared by doctors.

Alvarez passed out Wednesday at the end of her solo routine in artistic swimming, formerly known as synchronized swimming. She has passed out in the pool before, most notably during Olympic qualifying.

“Anita’s solo was so good too, it was her best performance ever, she just pushed through her limits and she found them,” coach Andrea Fuentes wrote on Instagram. “But Anita is ok and the doctors also said she is fine. We all know it happens in other sports: cycling, marathon, track and field… some don’t make it to the final line and some even finish crawling or passing out. Our sport is very hard too. Now it’s time to rest and recover. Tomorrow is highlight day and free duet finals! Ready to give our best.”

Alvarez scored 87.6333 in the women’s solo free artistic swimming event, placing seventh.

Alvarez, for what it is worth, did not seem worried about instances of passing out when discussing the Olympic qualifying incident with News 4 last June.

“I honestly thought I was asleep,” Alvarez said a year ago. “I started hearing people saying, ‘It’s going to be OK.’ I thought, ‘Stop telling me that! I’m trying to sleep.’ Then I realized that no, I was still in the pool.”

“Unfortunately, I’ve seen it happen to her before,” Alvarez’s mother said last year. “Never in competition, though. I knew right away. On their last element, I could tell something was up.”

Fuentes dove into the pool, fully clothed, to rescue Alvarez during qualifying. Photos from the world championships showed Fuentes making another recovery Wednesday. Alvarez was carried on a stretcher after being taken out of the pool.

Anita Alvarez of United States is carried on stretcher after collapsing during the solo free final of the artistic swimming at the 19th FINA World Championships in Budapest, Hungary, Wednesday, June 22, 2022. (AP Photo/Anna Szilagyi)

“I felt more tired than usual, but I didn’t think I was going to pass out,” Alvarez said last June. “On that last arm, I’m like 45 degrees horizontal when I’m supposed to be vertical. I remember doing it and thinking I was vertical. Then the feeling kept spinning, like I was in a hamster wheel. I don’t remember anything until I got to the wall. They had already carried to me to the wall and I kind of woke up out of it and realized my coach was in the pool, and that was that.”

Alvarez attributed last year’s incident to exhaustion, competing in several events in a short span. This time, she was coming back after a foot surgery, posting a photo with crutches as recently as five weeks ago.

Alvarez previously told News 4 she’s hoping to compete in the 2024 Olympics in Paris.

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Nick Veronica is a Buffalo native who joined the News 4 team as a Digital Executive Producer in 2021. He previously worked at NBC Sports and The Buffalo News. You can follow Nick on Facebook and Twitter and find more of his work here

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