MINNEAPOLIS - Steele Johnson soared to a conference record on 3-meter while winning his first career springboard diving title at the Big Ten Championships, headlining a host of career-best times and scores for Purdue men's swimming & diving Friday.
Johnson was victorious by 30 points while improving on his prelim scoring by 51 points. His record list score of 540.55 bested David Boudia's Purdue and conference benchmark (522.00) by 18.5 points. He has now eclipsed both of Boudia's program records in the springboard events.
Joe Young also medaled Friday, winning bronze in the 100 backstroke via a third-place finish in the A final. He eclipsed the program record with a time of 46.59 in the prelims. Young also scored in the B final of the 100 butterfly Friday, moving into second place in program history with time of 46.55 in the prelims.
Adam Noens (400 IM, 3:45.81) and Trent Pellini (100 breast, 52.88) also accounted for the second-fastest times in the team record book while qualifying for the A finals of their events. Pellini's time doubled as a Purdue freshman record, eclipsing a first-year benchmark that had stood since 2001. It was the program's longest-standing freshman mark.
The Boilermakers remained in fourth place in the team scoring, opening up a 60-point lead on fifth place and meet host Minnesota. Purdue has an opportunity to match its top finish at Big Tens for the third time in the last nine seasons dating back to 2009-10.
Joe Cifelli (483.50) was fifth in the championship final of 3-meter, improving on his third-best score in program history.
Chris Bals won the B final of the 100 breast with a career-best time of 53.24, moving into 4th place in program history.
Erik Juliusson (100 fly, 47.23), Jackson Higgins (200 free, 1:37.04), Grant Lewis (400 IM, 3:51.71) and Hudson Bursch (400 IM. 3:52.71) also scored with career-best times. Kiki Komlenic (100 back) and Marat Amaltdinov (100 breast) were also B finalists, helping to make the 100 breast (53 points) and 100 back (42 points) among the Boilermakers' top-scoring events.
Johnson won the Big Ten title in platform diving last season. He was also the NCAA champion on 3-meter a year ago. The junior elaborated on the accomplishment of winning both springboard and tower Big Ten championships in his career. "My freshman year I ended up getting silver in all three events, and I was really hoping to get a gold that year, but we came back at NCAAs and got two golds, so that was exciting. Then I came back last year and I ended up getting bronze in this event by doing my last dive for straight tens, which I needed just to get a medal. To come away with a win and a new school record and a personal best is really exciting for me, and I'm just excited to be competing with the big guys on 3-meter, like Michael Hixon, who was an Olympic finalist and an Olympic silver medalist on 3-meter synchro. It's an exciting competition for me going from a 10-meter diver down to a 3-meter diver. It's been fun."
The Big Ten Championships conclude Saturday with prelims at Noon ET and finals at 7:30 p.m.
FRIDAY TEAM SCORES
1.) No. 3 Indiana 1090.5
2.) No. 7 Michigan 1080
3.) No. 16 Ohio State 870
4.) Purdue 540
5.) No. 21 Minnesota 480
6.) Wisconsin 479.5
7.) Iowa 377.5
8.) Penn State 292.5
9.) Northwestern 189
10.) Michigan State 173