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David Colturi took his first dip into a swimming pool even before he was in kindergarten.
Nearly 10 years have passed since Colturi s first fun plunge. Over the years the cannonballs have been replaced by more technically challenging dives off boards and platforms.
What started out as summertime fun for a preschooler has developed into the kind of year-round serious commitment that basically only athletes with Olympic dreams can truly relate to.
Colturi, a sophomore at St. John s Jesuit, wouldn t commit an average of five hours a day at least five days a week on diving if he didn t consider it an important part of his life.
Each year it gets more serious, he said.
Colturi is not only one of the best high school divers in Ohio, he s one of the top junior-level divers in the country. After placing sixth in the Division I state meet as a freshman last spring, he placed third in the 3-meter event and seventh in the 10-meter competition at the Junior Nationals competition last summer in Georgia.
Ultimately, Colturi would like to represent the United States in the Olympics. I d like to qualify for the Olympic Trials in 2008 or 2012, said Colturi, who hopes to receive an invitation to a U.S. Olympic training camp in April.
It s very well known he has his sights on global competition, possibly the Olympics, St. John s swim coach Andy Dugan said. Whenever he dives he puts on a show. Whether you know the technical aspects of diving, it s still fun to watch him.
St. John s diving coach Phil Koester, who had known Colturi long before he enrolled at St. John s, can t recall a more talented diver.
He s a very hard-working kid and is very dedicated to the sport, Koester said. He s got some lofty goals. He s a very good student and very focused. He s by far one of the most talented divers to come out of this area.
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Colturi s sophomore season has gone as expected. He s ranked No. 1 in the northwest region among 1-meter divers. He produced a score of 283 for six dives during a meet at Northview to establish a school record, breaking his former mark of 281 which he set as a freshman.
Colturi, who stands 5-6, figures to be in the mix as one of the favorites to win the state championship, and is one of a few returning this year from last year s meet.
There s no doubt that he ll be one of those competing for a high spot, Dugan said. That s good for him and St. John s.
Nevertheless, Colturi admits his approach to the season is not on the same level as many of his competitors.
He spends much of his practice time training at Eastern Michigan University, focusing on competition beyond high school.
I m always shooting for first place, but it s not like I ll be disappointed if I don t win state this year, Colturi said. I m shooting for finishing in the top five.
On the other hand, his intentions for the future have him practicing for national and international competition.
His daily workouts with a personal diving coach at EMU have him training for 1-meter, 3-meter and 10-meter competitions. Ohio high school championships are limited to the 1-meter event.
Colturi actually prefers competing in the 3-meter and 10-meter heights.
It s such a rush diving from really high up, he said. It s just more fun. It s scary but that s what makes it fun.
Contact Donald Emmons at:email@example.com 419-724-6302.