Originally created 08/15/97

Germans place high at European Swimming Championships



SEVILLE, Spain (AP) - Germany took three of the first six medals at the European Swimming Championships with a gold and two silvers Thursday in the men's 1-meter springboard and the women's 10-meter platform finals.

German Andreas Wels, who had trouble finding a place to practice for these championships, found a home in the 1-meter springboard final.

Wels, fourth two years in this event and runner-up last month in the German nationals, took gold Thursday with 362.10 points, edging compatriot Holger Schlepps with 357.12.

Rafael Alvarez of Spain was third with 355.56. The event was held under 104-degree heat.

Schlepps won the German title last month. But Wels got revenge Thursday.

"I had a lot of trouble in the last few weeks finding a place to practice in Germany because the diving tank at home was under repair," Weis said. "So we traveled all around the country finding different ones."

In the women's 10-meter final, Russian Olga Khristoforova won gold with 441.60 points to 438.66 for German Annika Walter and bronze for Ukrainian Svetlana Serbina with 438.51.

The program of the 17-year-old Russian winner - which included a backward 31/2 sommersault - was the most difficult of the competition. Khristoforova said she's gained 11 pounds in the last few months, making the difficult program even more taxing.

"I'm dieting, trying everything to keep the weight off, but it's there and makes my diving more difficult," she said.

Walter also was the silver medalist on the 10-meter platform a year ago in the Atlanta Olympics.

Walter said she and other divers were distracted by the suffocating heat.

"You wouldn't think it would bother top athletes, but it did," she said. "It was hard to concentrate ..."