An Olympic swimmer from Buffalo is changing our outlook on life after a scary incident in the pool was photographed during the World Aquatics Championships. 

Anita Alvarez, a 2014 graduate of Kenmore West Senior High School, was competing at the World Aquatics Championships in June 2022 during a solo free routine when something unexpected happened: Alvarez lost consciousness and started to sink to the bottom of the pool. 

Thankfully, Alvarez’s coach, four-time Olympic medal winner Andreas Fuentas, dove into the pool after noticing that Alvarez was underwater for longer than normal. 

"I had to jump in because the lifeguards weren't doing it,” Coach Fuentas told reporters after jumping into the pool to rescue Alvarez. 

Since it was the World Aquatics Championships, there were underwater cameras that were able to capture the incredible rescue as Anita Alvarez floated motionless in the pool and her coach, Andreas Fuentas, heroically dove into the pool to save her. 

The moment is one that will live in sports history forever, especially after it made TIME’s Top 100 Photos of 2022. 

One person posted a very moving message on Facebook along with the picture, and thousands of people were touched by it. 

After recapping the events that occurred that day at the World Aquatics Championships, they published on Facebook an interpretation of the photo. 

“When you are under for too long, who are the people that will notice you’re in trouble, look for you and dive in to pull you to the surface when you lose your strength to swim? And can someone count on you to be that person that would go looking and notice when they are under for too long, diving in to support them when they are all out of fight and fuel to swim in these turbulent waters we call life?”

They say a picture is worth a thousand words…but this one may be worth more. 

About Anita Alvarez:

Anita Alvarez was born December 2, 1995 in Amherst, NY. A Western New York native, she was named USA's 2021 Artistic Swimming Athlete of the Year. Alvarez started her professional synchronized swimming career after she graduated from Kenmore West Senior High School back in 2016. She is a two-time Olympian, with 26 Olympic medals to her credit, specializing in artistic swimming. 

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