Pichler makes team, says coach harassed him O'Brien denies charges

Jeffrey also qualifies

June 24, 1996|By KNIGHT-RIDDER NEWS SERVICE

INDIANAPOLIS -- Diver David Pichler and coach Ron O'Brien exchanged accusations of assault, harassment and slander less than an hour after they were formally named to the 1996 U.S. Olympic team yesterday at Indiana University Natatorium.

After qualifying for his first Olympic team on his final platform dive, Pichler, 27, alleged that O'Brien harassed him for months after he left the Fort Lauderdale team -- and intimidated him with "mind games" at the U.S. trials.

Pichler, who trains and lives in Columbus, Ohio, also said that O'Brien's son, Tim, pushed a friend on an airplane after the Phillips 66 National Diving Championships in Ohio in April.

The O'Briens denied the charges. Tim O'Brien, an assistant Fort Lauderdale diving coach, said Pichler was thrown off the Fort Lauderdale team for disruptive behavior in September 1995. Tim O'Brien also said he was assaulted and slandered by Pichler's friend, Steve Guiffre, in Cincinnati.

Patrick Jeffrey, 31, of Orlando, Fla., who also used to dive for Ron O'Brien in Fort Lauderdale, won the trials with 1,147.71 points. Pichler finished second with 1,140.48 points.

U.S. diving team

Men

3-meter springboard

C7 Scott Donie, Houston; Mark Lenzi, Bloomington, Ind.

Platform

TH Patrick Jeffrey, Orlando, Fla.; David Pichler, Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

Women

3-meter springboard

Melisa Moses, Orange Park, Fla.; Jenny Keim, Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

Platform

Mary Ellen Clark, Fort Lauderdale, Fla.; Becky Ruehl, Lakeside Park, Ky.

Pub Date: 6/24/96

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