2-time Olympian, WNY native Anita Alvarez returns home with Team USA Artistic Swimming before 2024 Games

TOWN OF TONAWANDA, N.Y. (WIVB) — A Western New York native will be making a splash at this year’s Summer Olympics in Paris.

In a few months, Anita Alvarez, a two-time Olympian and member of Team USA Artistic Swimming, will bring all that local support with her as she competes in Paris.

On Saturday, she headed back to where it all started: the Town of Tonawanda Aquatic and Fitness Center, where she was once a lifeguard.

“Feel super excited,” Alvarez said. “Every day is really hard so it’s moments like these that we get to come back and have the support of the hometown crowd that keeps us going because we’re heads down training at home so to feel the support is super cool.”

Now, Alvarez, along with the rest of the U.S. Artistic Swimming team, are spending a the weekend in Tonawanda as they work toward a gold medal.

After fainting in the pool, Kenmore’s Anita Alvarez awakens to another Olympic dream

“This is my home pool, it’s literally where I grew up as a young kid on the side of the pool watching my mom as she was coaching, until I started swimming and then those last few moments before I decided to move out to California to train,” Alvarez said. “It’s a very special place for me, it’s like a second home and to be back here, a few months out from the Olympics is very special”

Day after day the team practices their routine, keeping in time with each other and all while underwater.

“I’m so excited, it’s so fun to have them here and to have the whole team and showcase our town and our fitness center and welcome them to our community,” Karen Alvarez, Anita’s mother, said.

Anita will soon be the first American artistic swimmer to represent Team USA three times in the Olympics.

“We’re just so proud,” Karen said. “She’s worked so hard. Such a dedicated athlete, humble, it’s so nice to see her dreams come true.”

The 2024 Summer Olympics begin Friday, July 26.

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Sarah Minkewicz is an Emmy-nominated reporter and Buffalo native who has been a part of the News 4 team since 2019. Follow Sarah on Twitter @SarahMinkewicz and click here to see more of her work.

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