Stand on the roof of a three-story building and look down to the ground. That's the view Columbus Academy senior Natalie Ritter has each time she stands at the end of a 10-meter platform and prepares to dive into the pool.

Stand on the roof of a three-story building and look down to the ground. That's the view Columbus Academy senior Natalie Ritter has each time she stands at the end of a 10-meter platform and prepares to dive into the pool.

"Diving from 10 meters above the pool, three stories, it takes a lot of speed, strength and power to be able to handle those dives. But it also takes a settled head, also a certain confidence in what you're doing," said coach Justin Sochor, who is in his fourth year training Ritter at the Ohio State Diving Club. "She's strong and athletic and brave, and that helps when you're in that environment."

Ritter, who dives for Academy and around the country through her club, will compete in college next year at the University of North Carolina. She signed her letter of intent in a ceremony at Academy on Nov. 17.

She turned down offers from Ohio State, Northwestern and Virginia.

"It's going to be fun and challenging, in a good way," said Ritter, who lives in Clintonville. "It'll be nice to be in college and enjoying diving and not worrying about making it in college and getting the scholarship, which is what I was worried about in high school."

Ritter placed second to champion Nikki Craft of Bay Village Bay in last year's Division II state meet after winning a district championship. She placed fifth at state in 2008 as a freshman, but couldn't compete at district and state in 2009 because of an injury.

Ritter also has won three consecutive MSL diving titles.

But diving in high school meets off a 1-meter springboard is very different from national events and what Ritter will face in college, Sochor said. For example, on a dive off a 10-meter platform, the diver strikes the water at about 30 mph, he said.

"We work very hard to make sure the kids are strong enough to handle some of the things they're doing," Sochor said.

Ritter works at the Ohio State Diving Club to strengthen her core and arms and legs.

"You definitely need to condition, but at my club right now we don't lift weights," she said. "We do a lot of core strength and a lot of reps of exercises. We focus on abs, legs and arms. You want to stay lean as a diver. You don't really want to get big."

Sochor said Ritter can equally handle 1-meter springboard, 3-meter springboard and 10-meter platform dives, as well as synchronized diving events.

"I think what makes her exceptional is that she's so well-rounded in all the different events," he said. "She does well in all four of those events and that's what makes her valuable. I don't think you can put her on one specific event and say, 'This is her money event.' She's worth what she's worth because of how well-rounded she is."

Ritter said she has been diving competitively since the fifth grade and realized around the eighth grade that she would have a chance to earn a college scholarship.

"It's really exciting, and it's relieving to be done with the whole college process," she said. "It feels good to finally get gratification that my hard work paid off."

Joined by her parents, Randy and Suzanne, Academy senior Natalie Ritter is all smiles after signing a letter of intent Nov. 17 to compete in diving at North Carolina.