News and notes on Purdue Athletics
Twelve-member recruiting class features 10 swimmers, two divers & nine Indiana natives.
Divers MacKenzie Tweardy and Jamie Bissett receive Big Ten Medal of Honor.
Purdue won five-team Ohio State Invitational in November that featured OSU & Wisconsin.
Purdue to team with Be The Match for drive and fundraiser in honor of the late Tom Reiter.
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'sfirst 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.
Mary Beth Dunnichay and MacKenzie Tweardy also garnered All-American honors at the 2015 NCAA Championships. Dunnichay was a 1-meter All-American after being the Purdue women's top scorer at the Big Ten Championships. Tweardy earned All-American honors (Honorable Mention in 2015) on platform for the second year in a row. She and fellow diver Jamie Bissett were the Big Ten Medal of Honor winners for all of Purdue athletics in 2015.
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 and he was also named the women's Big Ten Diving Coach of the Year thanks in part to Purdue having four of the top five finishers in the 1-meter championship final.
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), Tweardy (platform), 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 was a five-time All-American as a Boilermaker. Jamie Bissett, Michelle Cabassol and Layne Rogers also took home All-America honors in their first appearances at the NCAA Championships.
In both 2011 and 2015, three of Purdue's men's divers qualified for the championship final of platform diving at the NCAA Championships. 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, including Casey Matthews in 2013 and Amanda Miller in 2007.
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.
Cook finished second in the platform at Big Tens with a new program-record score to earn Second Team All-Big Ten honors. Mertz also established a new Purdue benchmark on the 3-meter board at the conference championships.
The Boilermakers have now set new school records in every women's swimming and diving event during the tenures of head coach John Klinge and Soldati.
Led by All-American performances from Boudia, Danny Cox and J.P. Perez in Minneapolis in 2011, the Boilermakers finished 16th at the NCAA Championships with 88 teams points. Boudia capped his college career by sweeping the springboard diving titles for the second year in a row.
Boudia was selected the NCAA Diver of the Year by the Collegiate Swimming Coaches Association of America for the third year in a row. 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.
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 continued his dominance on the boards as a sophomore, 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.
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 classmate Casey 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 also won silver in the individual platform event at the FINA Diving World Series in Veracruz, Mexico.
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.