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US artistic swimmer Alvarez, who fainted in solo event, not on team event startlist

US artistic swimmer Anita Alvarez, who was dramatically rescued from the bottom of the pool after fainting in her solo routine, was omitted from a revised startlist just before the team competition began on Friday.

Alvarez, who fainted at the end of her routine at the World Championships on Wednesday, had been on all previous versions of the startlist for the US eight-woman team, but was replaced by Yujin Chang just before the 1600 local time (1400 GMT) start.

A FINA official said the swimming organisation had asked Alvarez to undergo a full medical examination Friday morning but said he did not know the result.

Alvarez fainted and dropped to the bottom at the end of her individual routine and was saved by her quick-thinking coach, Andrea Fuentes.

When Fuentes saw Alvarez, who was unconscious throughout, sinking and lifeguards standing watching, she had no hesitation in diving to the bottom of the pool and dragging the swimmer to the surface.

AFP’s underwater robot camera captured astonishing images as the drama unfolded.

“I think she was at least two minutes without breathing because her lungs were full of water,” said Fuentes, a four-time Olympic artistic swimming medallist, adding that the swimmer’s heart was beating.

The USA artistic team released a statement from Fuentes on Thursday saying Alvarez had fainted due to the effort expended during the routine. 

“This happened to her once last year at the Olympic Qualification Tournament when competing her duet,” an US spokeswoman added.

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