Andrea Fuentes: "I didn't think, I just threw myself to look for her"

The sirens of artistic swimming come and go through the corridors of the Alfred Hajos complex in Budapest, and in the mixed zone, the press only has eyes for Andrea Fuentes (39).

NewsEditor
NewsEditor
24 June 2022 Friday 12:45
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Andrea Fuentes: "I didn't think, I just threw myself to look for her"

The sirens of artistic swimming come and go through the corridors of the Alfred Hajos complex in Budapest, and in the mixed zone, the press only has eyes for Andrea Fuentes (39).

Fuentes doesn't swim anymore (she had done it in other times, adding four Olympic podiums between Beijing 2008 and London 2012), but Wednesday's episode has brought her back to the fore.

-Look, I have the mobile that burns me. I've received hundreds of requests, I don't know how many journalists want to talk to me – she tells whoever manages to talk to her on the spot.

There is a queue: being a special envoy has its advantages.

(...)

On Wednesday, at the end of her free solo exercise, Anita Álvarez (25) had lost consciousness and was sinking in the pool to the bewilderment of the public and the inaction of the lifeguards.

And a few moments had passed, a few seconds, until Fuentes, a technician from the American team, jumped to his rescue.

"Of course, this has been the best performance in Anita's career: she explored her limits so much that she ended up finding them," Fuentes joked yesterday.

"But how is she?"

-The doctors have checked all her vital organs and have seen that everything is fine: heart rate, oxygen, blood levels, blood pressure... But she will be the one to decide if she is fit to play the team final

(This final is scheduled for this Friday; until her collapse, Anita Álvarez had played seven exercises in six days)

"I was just thinking of getting to her." Then I said to myself: 'ok, now take her out, and once out of her, make her breathe'. I did the fastest apnea of ​​my life, more than when I was training to go to the Olympics. Then, out of the water, I checked that he was okay. And when she began to breathe, we already realized that she was going to recover right away,” said Fuentes, who blamed the lifeguards for nothing, since the regulations prevented them from jumping into the water without the permission of the referees.

(The measure is more than questionable, and for this reason the International Swimming Federation, FINA, announced that it will review the protocol so that lifeguards can intervene at their free will without waiting for the signal from the judges; "the current rules are They have proven too strict, ”said Bela Merkely, chief doctor of the World Swimming Championships, yesterday.

"We shouldn't load this situation with drama," Irina Rodríguez (44) told this newspaper.

For years, Irina Rodríguez has shared training and titles with Andrea Fuentes. She has an Olympic silver (for teams, in 2008). Both, and also Mengual and Carbonell, are part of the prodigious time of the sirens of our country.

-It hurts me that my sport is news for something that is more morbid than anything else. What has happened is part of a relative normality. As a swimmer and as a coach, I have picked up partners. If sometimes it happens, it is because a thousand things come together. It had already happened to Anita Álvarez in the pre-Olympic and also in some training sessions. I lived it with a Japanese swimmer in the final of the Beijing Games: she swallowed water, she couldn't handle the exhaustion, she stayed and they had to jump to get her out. You push your body to the limit, there is tension, nerves, you want to be in the final and it's like a Molotov cocktail. In our discipline you go from bradycardia to tachycardia in an instant, from 90 beats to 190. But it should be clear that ours is not a risky sport. In the marathon or in the race walk it can also happen to you, but there you don't sink into the water.

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