Kimiko Hirai Soldati is in her eighth year as the volunteer assistant diving coach at Purdue, joining her husband, Adam, on the deck of the Boilermaker Aquatic Center.
A 2004 member of the U.S. Olympic diving team, Soldati's list of accomplishments in athletics and academics is nearly endless. Her most recent accolades include 3-meter championships at the 2004 U.S. National and Olympic Trial meets and a 10-meter synchronized title with Laura Wilkinson at the 2004 American Cup.
Soldati began her collegiate career at Colorado State but transferred to Indiana for the start of the 1994-95 season. After one year of redshirting, Soldati qualified for her first NCAA Championships and won the national title off the 1-meter. For her efforts, she was selected IU's Female Athlete of the Year in 1996.
Not only was Soldati rewarded by IU for her athletic accomplishments, but her academic endeavors as well. Soldati earned a degree in kinesiology from IU in 1997, sporting a perfect 4.0 grade-point average, and was chosen as her school's valedictorian. In December of 2001, Soldati received her master's degree in athletic administration/sport management, again maintaining a solid 4.0. A former GTE Academic All-American, Soldati received the Jack D. Tichenor Award, which is presented to students who achieve the highest degree of academic excellence, in 1996 and 1997.
Soldati earned her spot on the USA national team right out of college in 1998, and became the first female in U.S. Diving history to qualify for finals in all five events at the national championships. In the fall of 2000, Soldati made the move to The Woodlands, Texas, with her husband to train with Olympic coach Kenny Armstrong.
Soldati and Armstrong proved to be a winning combination. At the 2001 Spring National Diving Championships, Soldati won the 1-meter title and earned silver medals off the 3-meter springboard and 10-meter tower. These performances qualified her for her first major international competitions, the World Championships and Goodwill Games.
In September of 2001, Soldati shocked the world by winning a bronze medal for the United States on 3-meter springboard at the Goodwill Games after the media had speculated that women's springboard was the least likely event to earn a medal for the United States. Ironically, it ended up being the lone medal the U.S. was able to garner.
In 2002, Soldati went to the World Cup and won a silver medal in the 10-meter platform. She also made the finals in three other events, finishing among the top five of all three. Later that summer at the national championships, Soldati won her first national title on 3-meter springboard.
Named U.S. Diver of the Year in 2001 and 2002, Soldati again qualified for the World Cup in 2004 with partner Laura Wilkinson on 10-meter synchronized and brought home a spot for the Olympic Games. She also made the World Cup in 3-meter and 3-meter synchronized with Erin Quinn.
In addition to helping the Boilermaker divers, Soldati serves as a speaker for different groups and causes. Soldati also has made the jump into the broadcast booth, providing coverage of the Big Ten Championships for the Big Ten Network and the FINA/USA Grand Prix and the Kaiser Permanente National Diving Championships for the AT&T blue room Web site.
Soldati is married to Purdue head diving coach Adam Soldati. The couple has four children -- two sons, Blake and Isaac, as well as daughter Maiya. They welcomed daughter Emiko to the family in November 2011.