Ron O'Brien (coach)

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Ron O'Brien is an American diving coach who has spent the greater part of his life coaching elite divers who have won many gold medals in Olympic and collegiate competitions. In addition O'Brien has published several how to books related to diving and helped shape the sport into what it is today.

Athletic career[edit]

O’Brien began his athletic career similarly to many great divers, as a gymnast. Once in college at Ohio State University he earned six varsity letters in gymnastics and diving. In diving he went on to become NCAA national champion on 1 meter springboard (1959) and AAU national champion on 3 meter springboard (1961).[1] After his college career, he worked as an acrobat in a professional water stunt show alongside fellow future dive coach Dick Kimball.[2] In 1960, O'Brien placed third in the US diving Olympic trials, narrowly missing the top two qualification slots.[2]

Coaching career[edit]

After his time as an athlete ended, O'Brien began coaching. Over the years, he has coached divers of all skill levels resulting in over 350 medals in elite dive meets all over the world.[2] In total, the Olympians coached by O’Brien have won twelve gold, three silver, and four bronze medals.[3] In addition to the vast number of medals his divers have won, O'Brien holds the record for producing at least one national champion in the most consecutive years with a 23-year streak from 1973 to 1995.[3] Another of O'Brien’s coaching feats came in 1982 when his California divers took all four of the available gold medals at the world championships, marking the only time a dive club has ever swept a meet of such caliber.[2] Lastly, O'Brien is the lead visionary for the website,, a service which helps high school divers get recruited. This service was created to make it easier for divers to get recruited because most online recruitment services cater to all sports.[4]

Honors and awards[edit]

Because of his elite coaching career, O'Brien has been the recipient of some of the most prestigious awards in the sport of diving. Possibly the most notable of these awards is the "Outstanding Senior US Diving Coach Award." O'Brien has been the only recipient of this award because he has won it every year since its creation in 1979.[5]

He has been inducted into the Ohio State Athletics, The International Swimming and Pennsylvania Sports Halls of Fame. He retired from active coaching in 1996 after having coached more champions than any coach in history.[1][5] Because of his history as both an athlete and coach at Ohio State, the school’s diving well was named in his honor.[6]


When training his divers, O'Brien emphasizes how important it is to master all of the small things before putting them together. This concept can be found in any of his publications in which he teaches how sound fundamentals and mental preparation are just as important as raw power and plenty of practice.[3]


Diving My Way[edit]

Diving My Way is an instructional diving video which breaks down the mechanics of diving using slow motion and picture-by-picture effects. The video is broken down into the categories: Body Alignment, Board Work, Basic Dives, Entries, Somersaulting, Twisting, and Platform Diving.[7]

Ron O'Brien's Diving for Gold[edit]

Like his instructional video, Ron O'Brien's Diving for Gold breaks down the mechanics of each dive on 1 meter, 3 meter, and platform. The book also explains "O'Brien's winning formula for constructing the forward approach," possibly the most critical building block for a diver’s mechanics. Along with discussing the basic mechanics of diving, the book talks about O'Brien's philosophy for how divers should mentally approach diving. The book contains illustrations for nearly every existing dive in every position possible.[1]


After retiring from coaching in 1996, O'Brien became the national technical director for USA Diving. He currently lives in Islamorada, Florida with his wife.[1]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d O'Brien, Ronald F., and Ronald F. O'Brien. "Ron O'Brien Bio." Springboard & Platform Diving. Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics, 2003. Print.
  2. ^ a b c d "Great Moments in Olympic Swimming History". Retrieved 18 November 2018.
  3. ^ a b c O'Brien, Ronald F. Ron O'Brien's Diving for Gold. Champaign, IL: Leisure, 1992. Print
  4. ^ "About Us". Retrieved 18 November 2018.
  5. ^ a b " - RON O'BRIEN (USA)". Retrieved 18 November 2018. External link in |website= (help)
  6. ^ "McCorkle Aquatic Pavilion : Recreational Sports". Retrieved 18 November 2018.
  7. ^ "Diving My Way DVD - Ronald O'Brien". human-kinetics. Retrieved 18 November 2018.