SANYA, China - Purdue alumnus Steven LoBue, a medalist at both of the premier international competitions this year, has been selected as the FINA's Best Male High Diver of 2017.
Along with competing on the Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series for the seventh straight year, LoBue also performed well at the FINA High Diving World Cup and FINA World Championships. He rallied to win gold on 27-meter at the World Championships in July, earning a list-defining score of 113.40 on a difficult inward five somersaults tuck with a half twist that carried a degree of difficulty of 5.4. He also medaled at the High Diving World Cup for the third time in four years, winning silver in Abu Dhabi in April.
LoBue competed for Purdue from 2004 to 2007. He resides in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, with his wife Lindsay and their daughter.
Fellow Boilermakers Steele Johnson, Brandon Loschiavo and David Colturi also competed at the World Championships in Budapest this summer. Joe Cifelli represented the USA on 1-meter at the World University Games in Taipei. Three-time Olympian David Boudia also announced in September that he would be returning to competition and begin training towards the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo.
Boilermakers Kyle Mitrione, Colturi and LoBue continue to makeup three-quarters of the USA's regular male representation on the Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series. With their performances this year, Colturi and LoBue once again earned permanent spots on the 2018 tour. Colturi had three podium finishes in 2017 and LoBue placed second in both Portugal and Bosnia.
"I'm very happy with my routine at the moment, so I don't see any big changes coming up," LoBue said. "I think the biggest thing I need to work on is consistency. I'm looking forward to training hard in the off-season to make sure I'm as prepared as possible for the 2018 season."
High diving was introduced to the FINA program in 2013 and LoBue is the third man to claim the best-of-the-year award, following double winners Orlando Duque (2013 and 2014) of Colombia and Gary Hunt (2015 and 2016) of the United Kingdom. LoBue is already the "king of somersaults," the only one on the circuit to perform five of them in a single dive.
"High diving is the ultimate test of mental strength and athletic ability," LoBue says. "It's a sport where athletes openly admit and display fear as they constantly battle the limitations of their own minds. Pure passion combined with excitement and an electric, dynamic environment make high diving a sport that only a select few in the world are capable of."
Boudia will be honored at Thursday's Purdue men's basketball game at Mackey Arena. The first 2,000 in attendance receive a Boudia bobblehead. Tipoff vs. Valparaiso is set for 6:30 p.m. ET.
Cifelli will compete on 3-meter later this month at the USA Diving Winter Nationals, set for Dec. 13 to 19 in Greensboro, North Carolina.