Ranked first in the nation for her age group in diving, senior Olivia Rosendahl of Immaculate Heart High School officially signed with Northwestern University last week with the dreams of continuing her phenomenal success on the diving platforms.

Rosendahl is the Southern Section Division 3 record holder in one-meter diving and she recently returned from the FINA World Junior Championships after representing the United States in Penza, Russia.

Earlier in the season, she participated in the Pan American Sports Festival in Mexico City and placed fourth in Synchronized Women’s Platform and eighth in Women’s Platform. A place on the next U.S.A. Olympic diving team could very well be in Rosendahl’s future.

A diver since she was 10, Rosendahl had her pick of colleges and settled on Northwestern because “it felt like I belonged when I first stepped onto the campus.” She will join the team already knowing the coaches who will help continue to shape her athletic career. The diving community, after all, is small and close-knit — even on a global level.

Seniors at the Los Feliz high school celebrated their classmate at a small gathering in the school’s library where Rosendahl and her parents signed the official papers that cemented Olivia’s transformative status from Immaculate Heart Panda to Northwestern Wildcat.

Athletic Director Maureen Rodriguez welcomed the small crowd and presented Rosendahl with a small basket of purple Northwestern-inspired goods including earmuffs.

“It’s a good thing that diving takes place indoors,” she quipped before hugging the Chicago-bound athlete.

Later, Rodriguez shared that she has seen Rosendahl mature over the years with humility and outgoingness.

“I see so many divers put on their headphones and zone out at meets, but not Olivia,” she said. “She is always out there talking with people, encouraging them, making friends. She has friends all over the world. She’s compassionate for fellow divers who may have a bad day, going up and hugging them. We could all learn a lot from her.”

A parishioner at St. Charles Borromeo Church in North Hollywood, Rosendahl explained that diving is a pathway to many elements in her life. Diving for her is not just those moments suspending in space high above the water.

“I love diving because I am always active, always traveling, always experiencing something new,” she said. “I am exercising both my body and my mind. It requires me to push through fear, which is both exhilarating and terrifying.”

Rosendahl’s mother, Dr. Anne Kosco, credits the school with giving her daughter the right mix of academics, athletics and socialization. Rosendahl is a true scholar-athlete, ranking in the top 10 percent of her class despite her grueling six-days-a-week training schedule and traveling to meets around the globe.

She rarely misses a day of school when she is not on the road.

“The school community is so supportive and they really stress balance for its students,” Kosco said. “This has been a wonderful place for Olivia.”

After the signing, Rosendahl hugged her classmates, enjoyed a purple frosted cupcake and thought about what the next four years will bring.

“Being here is like being part of a big family,” she said about Immaculate Heart. “I hope to create a new family at Northwestern. But I will also know that this place is a home to me as well.”