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, a Clintonville resident who dives for Academy and around the country through her club, will compete 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," Ritter said. "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 Nikki Craft of Bay Village Bay in last year's Division II state meet after winning a district championship. Ritter also has won three consecutive MSL diving titles.

But diving in high school 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 to strengthen her core and arms and legs.

"You want to stay lean as a diver," she said. "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.

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 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."