Adam Soldati has cemented his name among the preeminent collegiate diving coaches in the nation during his 10 seasons at Purdue.
The 2014-15 season was just another in what has become an annual showing of Boilermaker divers appearing all over the scoring at championship contests. Soldati was named men's Big Ten Coach of the Year again and men's national Coach of the Year for the fourth time since 2009. Along with being a four-time men's NCAA Diving Coach of the Year, he is a seven-time winner of Big Ten Diving Coach of the Year. He has won the conference award five times with the men and twice with the women.
In 2012, Soldati helped coach David Boudia to two medals at the Olympic Games in London. Boudia won gold in the 10-meter platform, Team USA's first Olympic gold medal in the event since 1988. Boudia and Nick McCrory teamed up to win Team USA's first Olympic medal (bronze) ever in men's synchronized 10-meter diving. The gold-medal performance earned Boudia USA Diving Athlete of the Year honors, while Soldati was named USA Diving's National Coach of the Year.
At the 2015 NCAA Championships, Soldati guided freshman Steele Johnson to national titles on 1-meter and platform. Johnson became the first diver since Boudia in 2009 to win NCAA titles on a springboard and the platform in the same year. Boudia and Johnson train together at the Boilermaker Aquatic Center and will represent USA Diving at the FINA World Championships in Russia in the summer of 2015 after winning the 10-meter synchro title at the inaugural USA Diving Synchronized Nationals Championships in April.
In both 2011 and 2015, three Purdue divers qualified for the championship final of platform diving at the NCAA Championships. Jamie Bissett capped his college career with All-America honors on platform in 2015, coupling that award with First Team Academic All-America accolades. The 3-meter champion at Diving Canada's 2015 Winter Nationals became Purdue's first male athlete since quarterback Drew Brees (in 2000) to be a First Team All-American athletically and academically in the same year.
When Johnson was named the Purdue Male Athlete of the Year at end of the 2014-15 school year, he became the fifth diver to be honored since 2005. A diver has been among Purdue's Athletes of the Year in five of the last seven years.
Soldati was recognized as one of the finalists for the United States Olympic Committee's 2011 and 2012 National Coach of the Year awards. CaptainU.com named Soldati its National Diving Coach of the Year in 2014.
Seven of the nine Boilermakers competing at the 2014 Zone C Championships earned bids to the national championship meets. There were approximately 90 divers competing at the Zone C Championships. Ten percent (nine) were Boilermakers, yet Purdue managed to claim 41 percent (7 of 17) of the NCAA Championships berths available in Zone C. Four men's divers qualified for the first time since sending five to the national championship meet in 2010. Three women's divers qualified for the first time since 2009.
At the 2014 NCAA Championships, five Purdue divers earned All-America honors and scored team points. Michelle Cabassol closed out her career with 3-meter All-America acclaim after finishing fourth in the championship final for the second year in a row. Layne Rogers (3-meter), MacKenzie Tweardy (platform), Jamie Bissett (3-meter Honorable Mention) and Nate Cox (platform Honorable Mention) also advanced out of the prelims.
Casey Matthews was the 2014 women's Big Ten champion from the 1-meter springboard. She also helped Soldati's divers win nine medals at the USA Diving Winter Nationals in December 2013.
Four Purdue divers qualified for the 2013 NCAA Championships, highlighted by Matthews' winning the national title in women's 3-meter diving. She is now a five-time All-American. Bissett, Cabassol and Rogers also took home All-America honors in their first appearances at the NCAA Championships.
Boudia was selected the NCAA Diver of the Year by the Collegiate Swimming Coaches Association of America for the third year in a row in 2011. He finished his career with six NCAA national titles, one shy of the Troy Dumais' all-time record, after winning a pair at each of his three appearances at the national championship meet.
In the summer of 2011, Boudia became the first American male since 1986 to medal in the 10-meter platform at the FINA World Championships, winning silver in China. He was also selected as the Jesse Owens Male Big Ten Athlete of the Year, becoming the first diver to win the award and just the second Purdue male student-athlete.
A program-record three divers scoring in the platform competition at the NCAA Championships and two more national titles for Boudia highlighted the 2010-11 season. In July 2011, Soldati traveled to China with Boudia to serve as an assistant coach for USA Diving at the World Championships.
Among the women in 2011, Erin Mertz scored from all three boards at NCAAs, highlighted by a career-best third-place showing in the 3-meter competition that earned the senior All-American honors. She and fellow senior Kara Cook both garnered Honorable Mention All-American recognition in the platform.
At the Big Ten Championships, Boudia swept the three diving events for the second time in his career. He became the first athlete to accomplish that feat twice since platform diving was added to the meet in 1988. Boudia was named Big Ten Diver of the Championships and Diver of the Year for the third consecutive year. He finished his college career with eight Big Ten diving titles.
Boudia won 30 of the 31 events he entered during the 2010-11 school year. He was named Big Ten Diver of the Week a conference-record nine times, increasing his career mark of weekly honors to 20.
Among Boudia's 30 victories were national titles at the USA Diving Winter Nationals the first week of February. He teamed with Duke's Nick McCrory to win the synchronized platform and also captured the 10-meter platform title in the final competition of the week.
Boudia continued his dominance on the boards in 2010, bringing back two Big Ten titles and two more NCAA crowns. His 1-meter victory at the NCAA Championships made him the first diver ever to win at least one national title from each of the three boards. Boudia then defended his 3-meter title with a meet-record score of 494.90. His four career national championship trophies rank ninth on the all-time list, trailing only record-holder Troy Dumais' total of seven and a seven-way tie for second with five. Junior David Colturi added another Big Ten title to the record books as he finished first in the 1-meter. Colturi scored 442.00 points to break the McCorkle Aquatic Pavilion record and claim his first conference title.
In addition to the titles won, Purdue's depth was clearly evident at both championship meets. At the men's NCAA Championships, four divers earn All-America acclaim, while at the women's national championship meet two more certificates were made out to Purdue divers. At the men's Big Ten Championships, all six divers scored from all three boards to add 219 points to Purdue's team total. On the women's side, the Boilermakers grabbed 105 points, including a 2-3-4 finish in the platform, with only three divers scoring. Only Indiana, which brought seven divers, scored more points in the diving events.
Both record books have been completely rewritten under Soldati. All 30 positions on the men's all-time Top 10 list for the three boards are occupied by divers that were coached by Soldati.
Soldati believes that success in the collegiate ranks is only the first step for his student-athletes. Not only does Soldati want his divers aspiring to become conference champions and All-Americans, he wants them to see the bigger picture -- the Olympics. And Soldati has the experience to get them there.
The Purdue diving program was recognized as a Center of Excellence by USA Diving for 2010. Boudia and Matthews were named to the Olympic Performance Squad, which identified the 20 best American divers to give them all possible advantages leading into the 2012 Summer Olympics in London. Matthews earned inclusion to her first international team in February with a fourth-place finish off the platform at the USA Diving Winter National Championships.
Boudia, who contested the platform and synchronized platform disciplines at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, added to his international resume during the break from NCAA competition. He teamed with Nick McCrory to take gold in the synchronized platform at the AT&T USA Diving Grand Prix before joining Haley Ishimatsu to win the team event at the FINA Diving World Cup, a meet at which Soldati was Team USA's head coach, in Changzhou, China. The latter gold was the first for the U.S. in World Cup competition on Chinese soil since 1985.
Boudia then became the first American to top 600 points in a six-dive platform list when he scored 605.40 while winning the event at the AT&T National Diving Championships. Included in that score was a 111.00 total on a 109C that broke the American record for a single dive. The scores bettered records he had set in February at the USA Diving Winter National Championships. At the same championships, Kara Cook finished second in the women's platform with her score of 330.45.
Prior to his arrival at Purdue, Soldati worked with Olympic gold-medal coach Kenny Armstrong at the USA Diving National Training Center outside Houston. During his tenure, Soldati worked side-by-side with several Olympians, including Laura Wilkinson, Troy and Justin Dumais, Justin Wilcox, and Kimiko Soldati.
As head coach for the Woodlands Diving national team, Soldati guided three divers (J.J. Kinzbach, Harrison Jones and Jessica Livingston) to the finals of the 2004 Olympic Trials and five divers (Kinzbach, Jones, Drew Livingston, Jessica Livingston and Whitney Wielgus) to Senior Nationals. Kinzbach also qualified for the U.S. National Team. Soldati finished the summer taking Kinzbach and Jones to the Junior World Championships.
Following his graduation from Indiana University in 1997, Soldati founded Indiana Diving and Youth Development while serving as the Hoosiers' assistant coach and diving events director. Both programs succeeded at the highest levels with his involvement.
From June 1997 to January 2000, Soldati's club program advanced six athletes to the U.S. Senior National Diving Championships, plus four finalists and eight athletes to the U.S. Junior National Championships and earned one national championship. At the same time, he was helping his Hoosiers win three consecutive national diving titles from 1998 to 2000.
Soldati is married to Kimiko Hirai Soldati, who was a member of the 2004 U.S. Olympic Diving Team. The couple has six children -- sons, Blake and Isaac, as well as daughters Maiya and Emiko. They welcomed twins Noah (boy) and Rylie (girl) to the family in January 2014.