ROSEMONT, Ill. (www.purduesports.com) – After sweeping the springboard national titles at the NCAA Championships to earn the top national diving honors, Purdue’s Steele Johnson and coach Adam Soldati have also been named the Big Ten Diver and Diving Coach of the Year.
Johnson won both the Big Ten and national awards for the second time. He also claimed both in 2015 after winning NCAA titles on 1-meter and platform.
Soldati was recognized for the sixth time for his work with the Purdue men and eighth time overall. He was also honored as the Big Ten Diving Coach of the Year in 2006, 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2015 (men) as well as 2009 and 2014 (women). He’s been the national Diving Coach of the Year five times, all for his work with the Purdue men.
Johnson also finished second on platform to go along with his sweep of the NCAA titles on 1-meter and 3-meter. He was the only diver to be a championship finalist in all three events this year. He accounted for 57 team points, leading the Boilermakers to a 13th-place finish in the team scoring. That matched Purdue’s top showing in the modern era. The Boilermakers also finished 13th in 2009 and 2010.
Johnson has now won NCAA titles in all three diving events during his career, joining Purdue alumnus David Boudia as the only divers to accomplish the feat since platform diving was added to the NCAA Championships in 1990. Boudia and Johnson are the only student-athletes to win the College Swimming Coaches Association of America’s Diver of the Year award multiple times since 2005.
As 2016 Olympic silver medalists together in synchronized platform diving, perhaps it was fitting that Johnson also duplicated Boudia’s feat of two golds and one silver at NCAAs. No man has ever swept the three diving events in one year at NCAAs. Boudia nearly did it in 2009 and 2011, finishing second in the only event he did not win both years. Johnson came just as close this year. The University of Miami’s David Dinsmore, who finished third behind Boudia and Johnson at the 2016 U.S. Olympic Team Trials, bested Johnson on the platform Saturday to prevent the historic sweep.
Johnson joined Troy Dumais and Boudia as the only divers to win a pair of national championships multiple times in their careers. Dumais won an NCAA-record seven titles from 1999 to 2002, sweeping the springboard events three years in a row. Boudia (2009-11) won twice in each of the three NCAA Championships in which he competed, also sweeping the springboard events in 2010 and 2011.
Purdue divers have won 11 NCAA titles under Soldati’s tutelage. Boudia won six, Johnson now has four and Casey Matthews was the women’s 3-meter champion in 2013. At the Big Ten Championships this season, Johnson won gold on platform, took third on 3-meter and fourth on 1-meter. He accounted for 85 team points to lead the Boilermakers in scoring for the second time in his career. Coincidentally, it was the Purdue men’s first Big Ten diving title since Boudia swept the events in 2011. At Big Tens, Johnson (470.05) broke Boudia’s program record on 1-meter and established new career-best scores on 3-meter (506.45) and platform (547.8).
Purdue finished second among the Big Ten teams that scored at the national championship meet. All five Boilermakers that competed – Marat Amaltdinov, Joe Cifelli, Brandon Loschiavo, Max Showalter and Johnson – scored in an event and earned All-America honors. Purdue had two championship finalists on both 1-meter and platform. Cifelli finished sixth on 1-meter and Loschiavo was fourth on platform. Showalter was honorable mention All-America on platform for the second year in a row and Loschiavo qualified for the consolation final of 3-meter to add an honorable mention All-America accolade to his strong freshman season.
Under Soldati’s guidance all eight Purdue divers, four men and four women, qualified for the NCAA Championships in at least one event. Seven went on to earn All-America honors, highlighted by a combined seven top-eight finishes.
Purdue’s men’s divers were the top scoring team at both NCAAs and the USA Diving Winter Nationals this season. The University of Miami was the only other school to have a finalist in all three events at NCAAs this season.
Starting with Steven LoBue in 2006, the Boilermakers have won six Big Ten Diver of the Year awards.
STEELE JOHNSON’S ACCOMPLISHMENTS SINCE AUGUST 2016
• Olympic Silver Medalist (Synchronized 10-Meter)
• CSCAA NCAA Diver of the Year
• Two-Time NCAA Champion (1-Meter & 3-Meter)
• USA Diving National Champion (3-Meter)
• FINA World Championships Qualifier (1-Meter)
• Big Ten Diver of the Year
• Big Ten Champion (Platform)
• Six-time Big Ten Diver of the Week
• Academic All-Big Ten
• Won 20 Events