Pieces are in place for Fighting Irish to make significant postseason run.
In more than 30 years as a diving coach, Caiming Xie has helped his protégés win BIG EAST titles, All-America honors and gold medals. A proven winner, Caiming's experience and influence truly touch all corners of the globe.
He is entering his 19th season as head men's and women's diving coach at Notre Dame in 2013-14, the program's first as a member of the Atlantic Coast Conference.
During his tenure at Notre Dame he has coached two All-Americans on the women's side, as well as the top two men's divers in school history including 2008 All-American Michael Bulfin.
Under Caiming's guidance, sophomore Michael Kreft was named Co-BIG EAST Conference Diver of the Year at the 2013 league meet, in which Notre Dame scored a meet record 991 points and won its sixth and final championship as a conference member.
Caiming's most recent piece of hardware was earned in 2012 when he was named BIG EAST Diving Coach of the Year for the ninth time overall.
The award was due in part to the terrific season of freshman Nick Nemetz. Nemetz won both the 1-meter and 3-meter diving titles at the BIG EAST Championships, and finished in 19th place at the NCAA Championships with a 3-meter score of 287.35 points.
Caiming's 2011 BIG EAST award was earned behind the efforts of divers such as Nathan Geary, who rallied back from a fourth-place preliminary showing to earn the 3-meter diving title at the BIG EAST Championships. Geary totaled 321.25 points to start the day and ended with a brilliant 369.10 in the finals for his first league crown. One day after winning the 1-meter title, Eric Lex led the pack with a preliminary score of 359.00 off the high board. He dropped to fourth in the finals with a 338.10, but still managed to earn the honor of Most Outstanding Diver.
In fact, Lex celebrated his final home meet by becoming the first diver in Notre Dame history to crack the 400-point plateau in the 3-meter event, as his score of 405.15 off the high board gave him a first-place finish and the school record.
The recent success of Notre Dame divers comes as no surprise for Caiming, who also helped coach the United States National Team at the 2011 World University Games.
In 2010, Caiming's seventh BIG EAST Coach of the Year award came on the heels of Wes Villaflor making a clean sweep of the 1- and 3-meter titles at the league meet. Villaflor was named the championship's Most Outstanding Diver.
Caiming was named the BIG EAST Men's Diving Coach of the year for the third-straight season in 2007 after helping Bulfin capture two all-BIG EAST honors at the meet, while Sam Stoner earned one all-conference accolade. One season later, Bulfin would earn his second trip to the NCAAs, scoring Notre Dame's first-ever points at the meet while earning the program's first All-American accolade.
The Irish filled the podium at the 2009 BIG EAST Championships by claiming stake in four of the top six positions in both the 1- and 3-meter events.
The 2005-06 season was one of the finest for men's diving at Notre Dame. Bulfin became just the second diver in program history to qualify for the NCAA Championships. Bulfin also earned all-BIG EAST honors off the 1-meter board, while his teammate Stoner garnered all-conference honors in the 3-meter competition. Both Bulfin and Stoner competed at the NCAA Zone C Diving Championships. Bulfin qualified for the NCAAs with his fourth-place showing off the 3-meter board at the Zone competition. He would also finish ninth off the 1-meter board, while Stoner was 10th, after registering a 17th-place showing in the 3-meter. The success of his diver's helped Caiming garner the BIG EAST Conference Men's Diving Coach of the Year Award for the fourth time. He also collected the honor in 1999, 2004 and 2005.
In 2005, Stoner placed fifth at the BIG EAST Championships off both boards and would go on to finish 17th out of the 32-diver field at the NCAA Zone C Diving Championships. That marked the top finish for an Irish rookie in 1-meter action in the meet since Andy Maggio was 14th in 2000.
Caiming, the first full-time diving coach in Notre Dame history, recruited and developed three divers in the class of 2003. The group, which went undefeated in 2001-02, was a key to Notre Dame's dual-meet fortunes over a four-year span, and all three left among the best eight divers in school history on the 1-meter board.
Maggio was the most dominant Irish men's diver ever, holding three of the five University diving records. In 2002, he finished fourth at the NCAA Zone Diving Meet, missing by just six points Notre Dame's first berth to the NCAA Men's Championships in 27 years.
Joe Miller and Tong Xie, Caiming's son, each delivered career-best performances in their final seasons, a sign of Caiming's ability to help divers improve dramatically during their time with him.
Caiming also tutored 2001 graduate Herb Huesman throughout his career, which ended with him as the holder of three varsity records.
On the women's side, Caiming was responsible for the development of Heather Mattingly and Meghan Perry-Eaton, the first two diving All-Americans in Notre Dame history.
The last several seasons have been the most successful in Irish women's diving history, featuring nine BIG EAST titles, four All-America honors and four BIG EAST Championships Most Outstanding Diver awards.
In 2011, Jenny Chiang finished first off the 3-meter board to open the BIG EAST Championships. Chiang totaled 337.40 points in the final round to earn the title for the second time in as many seasons.
Natalie Stitt swept the 1- and 3-meter events at the 2009 BIG EAST Championships while earning the nod at the league's top diver. Caiming, who was the league's diving coach of the year in 2009, led Stitt to her first NCAA Championships appearance later that season.
In 2003-04, Perry-Eaton turned in the most impressive campaign ever by an Irish diver, as she was beaten just one time during the regular season before sweeping the springboard events at the BIG EAST Championships by more than 40 points each en route to being tabbed the meet's top diver. Perry-Eaton then became the first Notre Dame diver ever to win a title at the NCAA Zone C Championships, taking first off the 1-meter board. At the NCAA Championships, she delivered the highest-ever finish for a Notre Dame swimmer or diver, taking third in that event, ending up just 3.30 points behind the national champion and securing All-America honors. She followed that up with two more conference titles (for a BIG EAST record five in her career), her third conference diver-of-the-year award, and two more All-American honors.
In 2002-03, Perry-Eaton became the first Notre Dame diver -- and first non-University of Miami diver since 1996 -- to win a conference championship, placing first in the 1-meter competition. She also was second on the 3-meter board and was named the BIG EAST's top diver. Perry-Eaton then qualified for the NCAA Championships, where she placed ninth in the 1-meter event and 20th on the 3-meter board to earn honorable mention All-America honors.
In 2001-02, Heather Mattingly became the first Irish diver to earn All-America honors, finishing eighth in the 3-meter competition at the NCAA Championships. Mattingly also earned honorable mention All-America honors on the 1-meter board, taking 12th. She was the first Notre Dame diver to qualify for the NCAAs in four consecutive years -- also earning honorable mention All-America in 2001 (13th in 3-meter) and 2000 (12th in 1-meter, 12th in 3-meter).
Before coming to Notre Dame, Caiming was the head diving coach for three years at the University of Toledo, earning Mid-American Conference diving coach-of-the-year laurels in each of his last two seasons. Prior to his stint with the Rockets, Caiming served as an assistant coach for the 1991-92 season at Pittsburgh.
Boasting a wealth of international experience on his resume, Caiming served as the 1980 Chinese Olympic diving coach. He also has served as a technical consultant for United States Diving since 1994 and has held clinics and presentations for the United States Diving national team.
The Chinese national team coach from 1977-90, Caiming coached Sun Shu-Wei, a gold medalist in the men's platform competition at the 1992 Olympics in Barcelona, Spain, and Zhu Jin-Hong, who finished fourth in the women's platform in Barcelona.
Caiming's divers also have earned medals at the Asian Games, World Cup, World University Games and World Championships.
In 2009, he was an assistant coach for the United States at the World University Games in Belgrade, Serbia. The United States earned six medals at the event.
A competitive diver in his own right, Caiming won the springboard competition at the Asian Games in 1974 and earned first place in the platform and second in the springboard competition at the National Games of China in 1975.
Caiming is a 1985 graduate of the Beijing Institute of Physical Education and has won numerous national Chinese diving championships.
Caiming and his wife, Ping Tong, have one son, Tong, who graduated from Notre Dame in 2003 after a successful career as an Irish diver.