ROSEMONT, Ill. - While another springboard sweep and Big Ten Diver of the Week honor is more of the same for Purdue’s Steele Johnson, becoming the league’s first athlete to win four straight awards since Olympian David Boudia makes this week’s honor more unique.
Johnson was a perfect 8-for-8 in event victories over the Boilermakers’ four dual meets of the fall semester, sweeping the springboard events in the dual vs. Iowa this past Friday. He has swept his diving events at 11 consecutive collegiate regular-season meets over the last year.
Through no fault of his own, Johnson won’t be named Big Ten of the Week on Nov. 15. That’s because the Boilermakers don’t compete this weekend.
The three-day Purdue Invitational (Nov. 16-18) is up next. With a strong field headlined by Florida, Indiana, Virginia Tech as well as the North Carolina divers, Johnson’s streaks will not only be on the line next weekend. The Purdue Invite could also serve as a preview of next month’s USA Diving Winter Nationals in Greensboro, North Carolina.
Johnson’s 16th career Big Ten Diver of the Week award keeps him in pursuit of Boudia’s conference record of 20. Boudia achieved that total in just three seasons of NCAA competition, opting to turn pro after his junior year. It was as a junior during the 2010-11 school year that Boudia twice won four consecutive Big Ten Diver of the Week honors – Nov. 9 to Dec. 7 and Jan. 18 to Feb. 8.
Having won silver together in synchronized 10-meter at the 2016 Olympic Games, Boudia and Johnson have way more connections than just dominating the Big Ten weekly awards program. The Boilermakers’ two most accomplished divers have trained at the same pool for much of their careers, dating back to when Boudia would give a pre-teenage Johnson rides to practice from their homes in suburban Indianapolis.
In the Iowa dual, Johnson surpassed 440 points in both springboard events again, winning on 3-meter by 69 points and on 1-meter by 58 points. He led the way as the Boilermakers finished 1-2-3 on 1-meter.
Johnson has surpassed 415 points in all six of his event victories at the Morgan J. Burke Aquatic Center this fall. His average list scores at home have been 439.5 on 1-meter and 464.6 on 3-meter. Including the season-opening dual at Miami (Ohio), his average margin of victory stands at 62.4 points on 1-meter and 75.4 on 3-meter.
The Purdue Invitational begins Thursday, Nov. 16. Diving prelims are set for 1 p.m. ET. Thursday and Friday. Platform diving will be contested as a finals-only event at noon Saturday. The top 12 in the springboard prelims will advance to the finals at 6:15 p.m.