By Rebecca Harris
Sports Capital Journalism Program
INDIANAPOLIS — Steele Johnson of Purdue will attempt to become the first diver in NCAA history to sweep three championships in one year when he competes in the platform diving event at the Division I Men’s Swimming and Diving Championships on Saturday night.
Johnson won his second event of the 2017 championships Friday night with a score of 502.20 in 3-meter diving.
He finished well ahead of second-place finisher Briadam Herrera of Miami, who ended with 477.30 points. Third place went to Juan Hernandez of LSU, with 464.35 points.
Johnson joined Olympic teammate David Boudia as the only divers to have won all three diving championships during their career.
Unlike Thursday night, when Johnson was the second seed before winning the 1-meter finals, the 3-meter preliminaries gave him more trouble. The redshirt sophomore was seeded seventh after prelims, barely earning a spot in the championship round.
However, he came out strong in the finals. He positioned himself near the top of the leaderboard in a tie for third after the first dive. The second dive brought him to second place. His third earned a massive 91.8 points and put him in first, where he stayed for the remainder of the competition. That wasn’t even his best dive of the night. Johnson earned 94.5 points on his fifth dive.
Johnson took last year off to train for the Rio Olympics. In Rio, he earned a silver medal in the synchronized platform event with Boudia, a Purdue alum. Johnson previously earned NCAA titles in 1-meter and platform in 2015.