‘Hero coach saves swimmer’ was the headline splashed all over the news today. After losing consciousness during the FINA World Aquatic Championships in Budapest, Hungary, American swimmer Anita Alvarez was rescued from drowning at the bottom of the pool by coach Andrea Fuentes.
On Wednesday, Fuentes dived into the water after seeing the 25-year-old artistic swimmer plummet to the bottom of the women’s solo free event.
Coach Indicated Life Guards Slow To React
Andrea Fuentes, coach to two-time Olympian Anita Alvarez, told Spanish newspaper Marca that she dived in to haul the 25-year-old to the surface because no one else lifted a finger to do so.
“I jumped into the water because I saw that no one, no lifeguard, was diving in,” she said.
The dramatic rescue unfolded when Ms Alvarez was participating in the World Aquatics Championships in Budapest on Wednesday night.
This wasn’t the first time that Fuentes has come to Alvarez’s rescue. During an Olympic qualification event last year, a similar incident occurred where Fuentes leaped into action to her and swim partner, Lindi Schroeder to safety.
Who is Andrea Fuentes?
Fuentes is a four-time Olympic medalist in synchronized swimming and the most decorated swimmer on the Spanish National Team. The world champion rescued Alvarez from the bottom of the pool and swam her to the surface before swimming her to safety at the edge of the pool.
“I got a little scared because she wasn’t breathing, but now she’s fine,” Fuentes told news sources.
Swimmers often hold their breath for long periods of time as a way to develop their lung capacity but never defy medical advice, according to their instructor, who explained that the occurrence was not out of the ordinary in the sport of swimming.
Fuentes became concerned when she observed Alvarez’s feet appeared paler than usual toward the end of her routine on Wednesday. While Alvarez was descending instead of ascending to take a breath, she dove in.
Swim Coach Saves Swimmer, Quick To Respond To Distress
Fuentes remarked, “I was already paying attention, and then I saw her sliding down. In the end, “I didn’t even ask myself if I should go or not, I just thought that I was not going to wait.”
“I know Anita very well and I know the sport very well.” Fuentes replied when asked if she thought lifeguards were too slow to respond to the incident.
Coach Saves Swimmer – Says ‘I Did My Job’
Fuentes concluded by saying, “They did their job, I did mine,” The sport’s governing body, the International Swimming Federation (FINA), did not react to calls for comment on reaction speed of the rescue.
After what it called a “medical emergency.” FINA said in a statement on Thursday that it has been in contact with Alvarez, her teammates, and her medical personnel. In the words of the release, “Ms. Alvarez was immediately treated by a medical team in the venue and is in good health,”
Oli Scarff, the underwater photographer who used a remote robotic camera to capture the breathtaking images of the rescue, told reporters that he heard noise as he was looking at his computer toward the end of Alvarez’s routine. He observed the swimmer at the bottom of the pool on the screen of the robotic camera.
According to the photographer, it was “It was kind of a shocking thing to see because as soon as I looked back down at the robotic camera I had this kind of clear view of the scene while everyone in the arena was watching it through the surface of the water,” as he put it.
At first Scarff was capturing “beautiful” images of a “amazing” athlete in action, only to find himself “in a heartbeat” photographing “a near-death situation.” “Actually, I was rather rattled up by the whole thing.
Swimmer Says She’s Ready To Compete on Friday
“The doctors checked all vitals and everything is normal: heart rate, oxygen, sugar levels, blood pressure, etc. All is fine,” Fuentes stated. Other high-endurance sports, such as running and cycling, also experience this.” Whether it’s a marathon, a bike race, or a cross-country race, we’ve all seen photographs of racers who didn’t make it to the finish line being helped by others. Swimming is just like any other activity in that we push ourselves to our limits and sometimes find them.”
Adding a Sauna To Your Backyard
Adding a sauna to your backyard is becoming more and more popular. As far as outdoor home improvements go, it nears the top of the list for those that are health-conscious. It comes of no surprise, many of the same folks who purchase a pool are also in the market for a sauna.
With summer right around the corner, it’s time to start thinking about backyard improvements. A sauna is one that make your home’s outdoor living area a more enjoyable experience. Most homeowners long for a place to escape from the hustle and bustle of everyday life, to unwind. A sauna provides the type of respite they are looking for; complete relaxation in a natural outdoor setting.
Why Purchase a Sauna For Your Backyard?
Folks who visit a sauna regularly, have most probably considered saving themselves the recurring cost. Its also inconvenient having to go to a steam room for a 15-45 minute session. It stands to reason that when evaluating what outdoor amenities provide the best value, more homeowners are considering a sauna.
Health Benefits of Owning a Sauna
There are many well-known benefits to owning a sauna. A 2018 Mayo Clinic Proceedings study states, “Sauna bathing may be linked to several health benefits, which include reduction in the risk of vascular diseases such as high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, and neurocognitive diseases; nonvascular conditions such as pulmonary diseases; mortality; as well as amelioration of conditions such as arthritis, headache, and flu.”
While associated with improving conditions such as respiratory issues, bronchitis, and other breathing ailments, still there is a large percentage of consumers who purchase a sauna for other reasons. Many will purchase a sauna for the beauty that they add to their outdoor living environment. With many elegant and contemporary design options to choose from; these days, consumers have their choice when it comes to adding a sauna that compliments the aesthetic of their backyard.
This country loves its saunas. In fact, there are currently over 1 million saunas, representing an $8 billion market in the United States alone. Seems like a high number right? Well that’s nothing compared to Finland who really love their saunas. Finland has the highest percentage of saunas per capita than any other country on the planet. With a $20 billion market, there are over 3 million saunas in Finland today. We may be running behind them in terms of consumer demand, but we’re catching up fast.
Why Have Saunas Sales Spiked?
To get a better understanding of why the demand for saunas has suddenly spiked, we spoke with Tina Adams, Vice President of Sales & Marketing for Bathing Brands. We wanted to know how the market for saunas has grown in recent years.
How Has The Market For Saunas Grown?
“Sauna sales have doubled in the past two years, mirroring unprecedented interest in backyard leisure, personal wellness, and an improved quality of life.”, said Adams.
Perhaps highest on the list for consumers thinking of purchasing a sauna for their backyard are the health benefits that come from owning one. A fact that Adams acknowledged, “In addition to making people feel good, heat therapy has proven heart-health, pain-reduction, and immune systems benefits.”
America Is Developing A Culture For Saunas
“There is a sauna bathing revolution brewing,” said Adams, “we are culturally uncovering the value heat and cold can have on us physiologically. Experiencing a sauna outdoors, and even better, adjacent to a swimming pool, offers an experience only nature can provide. The addition of a sauna in a pool setting allows for an invigorating plunge or cool down which is so essential to the sauna experience. “
It stands to reason that as swimming pools have surged in popularity over the years, the sauna sector would see a new influx of consumers as well. Being a very cold country, we can understand why Finland is so popular for saunas. America however doesn’t have the culture for saunas that Finland does, nor the climate. Yet, the demand has skyrocketed. With double the sales, the question begs to ask, why are Americans developing such an appetite for adding saunas as an outdoor amenity?
How Did Saunas Suddenly Become So Popular?
There was a point in time where you where a sauna was an unlikely amenity to find in the backyard. These days, finding a sauna in an elegantly appointed outdoor setting is far more likely. The market penetration has been considerable in recent years. Sauanas are now on the list of top amenities one will find in the backyard along with pools and spas.
“One of the hottest trends in the backyard right now is the installation of outdoor saunas,” said Adams, “but it’s the pool and spa dealers who are really the ones facilitating this trend. Modular or barrel saunas are easy to display, simple to install, and can help grow their business.”
It’s a fact that as the gatekeepers of the backyard, pool builders and designers are the ones with the greatest influence on the homeowner. In terms of swaying buying decisions to particular outdoor living products and amenities, no one has more influence in this regard.
The ease of installation, small space requirements, and relatively low cost in comparison to other outdoor amenities such as pools and spas, make it an appealing value added service builders can add to the list of products they offer their customers.
The fact that stoking demand starts at the dealer level begins at the dealer level is not lost in Adams. “Local pool and spa dealers are the most viable resource for displaying, promoting, and satisfying consumer demand,” she explained.
During trade show season, saunas definitely had an enormous presence on the exhibition floor this year. “We have seen growth in all markets,” said Adams. “Where there is a pool, there is the highest potential of outside sales sauna growth,” she explained.
Adams is hoping for even higher adaptation in the near future, “Featuring an outdoor sauna kit into existing projects is a sure-fire way to grow sales. We’re excited to see our dealers leading the sauna revolution at the retail level.”
Featured Photo Credit: Thermory USA
Dirty Public Pool Cause of E. Coli Outbreak Says CDC
When the summer months arrive the hot weather has families rushing to their local public pool. One incident recorded by the CDC shows how contaminated water and a lack of oversight may spoil the enjoyment.
Dirty Public Pool Cause of E. Coli & C.Difficile Outbreak
Last summer, a public pool in Pennsylvania experienced an incident where over a dozen children became gravely ill from two forms of bacteria, E. Coli and C. Difficile. An investigation showed that children who had swam in the pool and had ingested water were affected roughly 48 hours after exposure.
Experts say that normally bacteria like E. coli and C. difficile. find their way into bodies of water from swimmers who experience diarrhea, however, there are numerous studies that have shown the bacteria can enter a water source and proliferate in other ways.
There were 15 cases (9 confirmed, 6 probable) in people aged 4–14 years; 10 patients were male. All of the individuals reported swimming at the pool on May 31, 2021, the seasonal opening date, and had no additional common exposures.
The day of the incident, the total number of pool guests was unknown. Symptoms began appearing within a few hours to as long as several days. In total, 13 patients wound up seeking medical attention, and 6 were admitted to the hospital. C. difficile antibiotics were administered to 4 people. Luckily, in this particular instance, there were no cases of hemolytic uremic syndrome, a rare but serious illness that affects the kidneys and prevents blood clotting in those who’ve been infected.
Fact-Finding Conducted by CDC
Notes from the investigation were published on May 20 in the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The investigation determined that the swimming pool’s automatic chlorinator was broken and that record-keeping was not in accordance with local regulations. Consequently, what limited data that was available revealed at least one case where there was no detectable chlorine.
We reached out to experts in the industry who clean and service public swimming pools to get their perspective on what went wrong in the process.
Preventing Repeat Instances
“Equipment malfunctions are inevitable,” said pool service technician Cole Daasnes, “a system of redundant precautions would definitely reduce the likelihood of someone being harmed by it. If we managed that public pool, we’d have a digital pool monitor in place. Someone should be doing weekly equipment checks on the feeders, pumps, and filtration pressure as well as checking it with a test strip when they open the pool for the day. Those results should be recorded in a logbook.”
Stephen Little, CEO and owner of Claro Pools, a large pool service company in Palm Desert said, “This is just a cascade of failures. Lack of redundancies and a protocol to establish layers of safety are clearly missing here,” said Little. “If I was the manager of this pool, I would put a flowchart together to see exactly where the failure occurred.”
“Public pools should be using an NSF 50 rated peristaltic pump that automates chlorine levels. Rola-chem makes a great one, as does Stenner. Point is there are plenty of companies who make chemical feeders that prevent this exact type of problem from occurring,” said Little.
CDC Guidelines For Public Pools
- Adhere to recommended bather load limits.
- Free chlorine levels between 1–3 parts per million.
- pH level of 7.2–7.8.
- Testing of pH and disinfectant levels at least twice daily (when in heavy use – hourly).
- Maintain a recorded log of disinfectant/pH measurements and maintenance activities.
- Maintain filtration and recirculation systems to manufacturer operational guidelines.
“I’m a firm believer in using alternative sanitizers,” said Gregg Sample of Chlorine Solutions, “Public pools really need boric acid restrictions lifted. It’s basically adding insurance for the water. I have found through testing my own pool that Boric Acid and a PoolRx are a redundant measure of sanitization.”
“There should be daily chemical checks of chlorine and pH and recording on a physical log,” said former public pool inspector for the Florida Department of Health, Lauren Broom. “There should be proper training of operators. Someone should be conducting a daily check of the pool equipment as part of their daily opening and closing checklist and responsible for closing the pool when it don’t meet specific requirements like chlorine level.”
Clearly, there was a disconnect in this instance which allowed for a breach in protocol where recommended guidelines were not adhered to. “It’s a failure to care,” said Rudy Stankowitz, a pool chemistry expert, author, and instructor who teaches professionals best practices. “If the facility was managed properly the condition would not have gone unnoticed/uncorrected for more than a couple of hours,” said Stankowitz, “The only real proactive solution is a greater regulatory presence.”
E. Coli and other pathogens such as Naegleria fowleri, Giardia, Shigella, Norovirus can cause serious illness. This one instance is a perfect example of how the public can be protected from RWI’s by establishing and following proper pool maintenance protocols.
Nace ME, Wallace JL, Kline KE, Plipat N. Notes from the Field: Escherichia coli O157:H7 Outbreak in Children with Clostridioides difficile Colonization Associated with an Improperly Treated Swimming Pool — Pennsylvania, June 2021. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep 2022;71:690–691. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.15585/mmwr.mm7120a4external icon
One Rockin’ Pool Project at the Hard Rock
Jason Evans and Jeff Brown know a thing or two about taking on large projects like the Hard Rock pool. Industry veteran Evans has been indoctrinating his stepson Brown into the business over the past decade. Working side by side with his stepfather, the two have tackled their fair share of challenging jobs. For the south Florida firm renovating pools is a family affair. Their company, Pool Boy Plastering, has made a reputation for taking on some very visible and high-profile custom pool projects.
The Hard Rock Pool in Hollywood, FL
Recently Evans began posting photos of the Hard Rock Seminole pool they worked on in Hollywood, FL. The incredibly iconic guitar-shaped resort features a lush “Bora Bora” lagoon-style swimming pool which is just as stunning. A beach entry resort-style pool with actual sand, as well as a huge 4.5-acre lagoon for hotel guests that allows for paddleboarding, kayaking, and pedal boating, are just some of the world-class amenities you’ll find.
The high-volume firm has taken on large jobs, having completed over 12,000 projects during its tenure in the business. Catering to pool builders and architects, Pool Boy Plastering performs over 600 pool plastering jobs a year.
It’s safe to say that Evans and Brown collectively plastered roughly 7.2 million square feet or 110 football fields worth of pools. That’s a lot of plaster and a ton of experience in the field. It’s no wonder they were awarded the bid to do the interior of the Hard Rock swimming pool. Still, the two weren’t shy about confessing that this was the largest project they’d ever undertaken.
A Challenging Pool Interior
In describing what working on this pool was like, Evans was straight to the point. “It was a doozy, there were some really rough work conditions and it was probably one of the toughest jobs we’ve ever had to do,” he said.
“Not only did we have time constraints but it was during a really rainy season. Because it’s a Seminole reservation, OSHA is not allowed on the property, but they had their own safety team that was stricter than what a typical OSHA job site would be,” explained Evans, describing the working conditions.
“They would have lightning monitors, alarms would go off and we’d be suddenly forced to shut everything down and shelter. That’s tough, we’re out there mixing cement, pumping the Pebbletec. It was tough to just turn off the machine when it was full of cement and go hang out for an hour or two until we’re allowed to get back to work,” said Brown.
“We’d have almost daily meetings with the contractors, Brightview Developers did the entire outside of the hotel and were the ones we were collaborating with. The construction was 24/7 but our crew only worked during the day. In a fast-paced production schedule, it was a tough job site to work on. One day there would be parking, the next day there would be sidewalks where there were none yesterday,” said Evans.
Hitting a Moving Target
A project of this scale with a moving target and constantly shifting priorities was definitely a new experience for the firm. “It was always throwing us a loop. We’d be there doing a section thinking we’d be able to finish it and the concrete foreman would come up and inform us that the next day we’d have to break everything down and move out of the way and set up on the other side of the hotel to work. This was a rush build with overlapping deadlines. I must say though for a job of this scale it went fairly smoothly,” stated Evans.
“Having to run a slick line to shoot 800 square feet through other workers was definitely a challenge. We worked well on top of other contractors until it came time to use chemicals and then we’d have to cordon off certain areas of the job site. That made us popular,” said Brown, “they weren’t too happy to have to clear out when we had to do an acid wash.”
When asked if they’d take on this job again, the pair chuckled and said that is one they’d have to seriously consider. Despite the difficulties working on this project, the Pebbletec interior in this swimming pool came out gorgeous. A tremendous undertaking, this project is a testament to their abilities and was obviously a true labor of love.
Certainly not the only high-profile resort pool Evans and Brown have worked on, the two have traveled as far as Dubai to work on the Atlantis resort pool. They’re also probably one of the only pool plasterers that can count Sylvester Stallone as one of their clients. With that said, this rockin’ pool still remains one for the highlight reel.
Photo Credit: Jimi Smith Photography
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