Budapest - The US coach and husband of Hungarian Olympic swimming champion Katinka Hosszu has been sued days before the start of the world championships in Budapest by a former employee after a recent poolside scuffle.
Hungarian media reported in April that Hosszu's coach Shane Tusup, 29, allegedly pushed and threatened Scottish trainer Darren Ward poolside at Hungary's national swim meet in Debrecen.
In a statement seen by AFP on Friday Ward said he filed a lawsuit against Tusup and his Iron Corporation employer July 6 for the "public violation of my personality rights".
Ward came to Hungary last year to work as head coach for Tusup and Hosszu's new swimming academy called Iron Aquatics but left the job soon after the incident.
He said he has also taken legal steps to "establish the unlawful termination of the employment relationship and to request compensation for damages".
"It had been my wish to settle the case amicably with Shane Tusup and Iron Corporation, regrettably they have not responded to my lawyers enquiries to discuss the matter at hand," said Ward.
"With respect to this, I have no option but to commence a lawsuit," he said.
Iron Corporation's spokesperson Fanni Toth told AFP that lawyers representing the two parties have been in touch.
"We asked them to postpone the whole conversation until after the world championships," she said.
Tusup, who Hosszu met when both were swimming at the University of Southern California, took over as her coach soon after the London Olympics.
Under his tenure Hosszu, 28, has become one of the world's top swimmers, winning three golds and a silver in Rio.
Competing in six events at the Budapest meet which begins on Sunday, she is also tipped for multiple golds.
Tusup's intensive training methods for Hosszu have raised eyebrows among some swimming insiders, but his emotional reactions to her races have also won admirers.
NBC's official Olympics Twitter account last year urged women to 'find someone who loves you the way Katinka Hosszu's husband loves her'.