COLUMBUS, Ohio – Katie Bell, the Ohio State senior from Columbus and Graham High School, capped her return to competitive diving with a gold medal performance on the synchronized 10-meter diving event Sunday at the USA Diving Winter Nationals in Iowa City, Iowa.

Bell, who won the silver on the 10-meter platform on Saturday, teamed with Mary Beth Dunnichay from Elwood, Ind., to top the field on the final day of the national championships, held at the University of Iowa’s new Campus Recreation and Wellness Center. The duo, without much experience diving together prior to the meet, totaled 283.20 points to win their first national title as a duo.

“We had fun,” Bell said. “We haven’t trained together that much, but we knew we could do our dives well.”

This is Bell’s second U.S. national championship. She won the 10-meter event in August 2009 in Tallahassee, Fla.

The Winter Nationals also represented the first competition for Bell in a year. She injured her shoulder during the 2010 U.S. Diving Winter Nationals, held at the McCorkle Aquatic Pavilion, and has been rehabilitating and slowly working back to her 10-meter dive rotation since.

Alvarez Ninth  Ohio State junior Bianca Alvarez, from Miami, Fla., was ninth in the three-meter springboard event that also concluded Sunday.  

Up next for Bell, Alvarez and the Buckeyes: the Big Ten championships Feb. 16-19 at Indiana University followed by the NCAA championships one month later in Austin, Texas. She will then compete at the AT&T USA Diving Grand Prix in May.