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SWIMMING | BUDAPEST 2022

FINA prohibits Anita Álvarez from competing at the last minute

On Friday, the head of the medical services, Bela Merkely, spoke to Hungarian media about the US swimmer, saying, “perhaps this sport is not for her.”

Update:
A member of Team USA (L) recovers USA's Anita Alvarez (C), from the bottom of the pool during an incendent in the women's solo free artistic swimming finals, during the Budapest 2022 World Aquatics Championships at the Alfred Hajos Swimming Complex in Budapest on June 22, 2022. (Photo by Peter Kohalmi / AFP)
PETER KOHALMIAFP

After fainting on Wednesday under the water, Anita Alvarez felt strongly about returning to competition on Friday with the aim to say a ‘strong’ goodbye in the water, as she herself told AS, in the free team final scheduled to take place at 4pm in Budapest (10am ET). The medical services of the United States had given her the OK, her companions were eager to see her again in the water, and coach Andrea Fuentes - who had saved her - decided that she would be part of the team. But it’s not to be.

USA's Anita Alvarez rescued from the bottom of the pool during an incident in the women's solo free artistic swimming finals.
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USA's Anita Alvarez rescued from the bottom of the pool during an incident in the women's solo free artistic swimming finals.OLI SCARFFAFP

Anita Alvarez ruled out

In the minutes leading up to the event, less than three hours before it started, FINA called the US team to advise that they have not allowed her to take part. Although more pertinent explanations are expected, the head of the World Championships medical services, Bela Merkely, did speak in the Hungarian media following Wednesday’s dramatic rescue.

“There are different types of athletes, and they deal with amounts of oxygen and carbon dioxide in different ways. But there are those who are more sensitive. She is one of them. Probably this sport is not for her.”

The United States will be forced to add a new swimmer to their routine and carry out some last-minute practice ahead of the competition. Anita Alvarez, for her part, will have to watch from the stands and support her teammates on Isla Margarita.

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