At IHHS: Diving and swimming through life’s journey, with God

Immaculate Heart’s Olivia Rosendahl (from left), Meghan Go and Anora Denison, who placed well at the CIF-SS championships, will all return in 2015. — Credit: BRENDA REES

On dry land, they seem like three typical, unassuming and down-to-earth teenagers — bubbly, engaged and poised — but these Immaculate Heart High Schoolers are accomplished aquatic scholar athletes whose Catholic faith is intertwined with sport and life.

Swimming and diving is a big deal at the Hollywood campus. ”It’s probably the sports we are most known for in our league and CIF,” says Maureen Rodriguez, athletic director at the all-girls’ school. “But I’m most proud that these girls are solid athletes, good students, friendly and well-rounded.”

Just recently, this trio of athletes — Olivia Rosendahl (junior) Anora Denison (sophomore) and Meghan Go (sophomore) — placed highly at the CIF-SS Division 3 Swimming and Diving championships held in Riverside.

Rosendahl placed first and broke her own CIF record in the 1-meter diving, which she set in 2012 as a freshman. She now holds the highest score recorded in any division in CIF. Denison placed fourth and senior Colette Toal was 13th.

Among Immaculate Heart’s six varsity swimmers, Go finished fifth in the 100 freestyle, sixth in the 50 freestyle and swam on two relay teams which helped the school finish ninth among 50 schools overall in Division 3.

Competition aside, all three athletes say their sport offers opportunities to excel not just physically but mentally, emotionally and spiritually. Diving and swimming, they say, is a part of their overall journey through life.

“Every person has a gift and if mine is this, then it should have a positive effect on those around me,” says Rosendahl, a parishioner at St. Charles Borromeo Church in North Hollywood. “Diving allows me to be more social and reach out to make new friends. It gives me that confidence to be out there.”

“When I came here I was very shy, but not anymore,” says Go who attends St. Bernard Church in Glassel Park. Through swimming, she says she’s learned how to give and receive compassion. “When I have a bad race, my friends will comfort me and I know that people will support me in whatever I do,” she says. “I see how important these connections are.”

“Diving provides an outlet from all the stresses of academics,” chimes in Denison, who attends Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary Church in Pasadena. “It allows me to be myself and it gives me a fresh outlook on life.”

Adds Go: “If I’m having a really bad day and I get into the water, I feel really refreshed, and it’s like all the weight I have on my shoulders is lifted. I swim and feel really good.”

Denison says her faith has guided her through her love of the sport and the complications that involve from the 2½ hours-a-day, six-days-a-week (sometimes seven), year-round practice schedule.

“If I am struggling with something, I usually remind myself that God has given me these gifts and the motivation and focus to succeed,” she says. “I just have to trust.”

Trust in God is key, the girls agree. “Right before I take off from the block, I think, ‘I’m going to give this all to you, God,’” says Go who adds that she will make a sign of the cross before splashing into the pool.

The long, intense schedule, they say, has its benefits that will be a part of their future, since all plan to continue their athletic career at college.

“When you get home at 7 every night, after a day of school and practice, you have to learn how to focus and not procrastinate,” says Denison. “Diving has given me focus, determination and patience in all aspects of my life. I can’t imagine my life without it.”


Statement on U.S. Supreme Court Decision in United States v. Texas

Archbishop José H. Gomez

Our nation’s ongoing failure to address the immigration crisis is a humanitarian tragedy. For more than a decade, state and local governments, Congress, the President, the courts — and now the highest court in the land — all have failed in their responsibilities to address this issue. 


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June 25, 2016

  • Saturday, June 25

    Los Angeles Foster Care and Adoption Information Meeting, 10 a.m. - 12 p.m., Children’s Bureau Foster Care & Adoption, 1910 Magnolia Ave., Los Angeles. Discover if you have the ability and resources to help a child in need. To RSVP or for more information, call (800) 730-3933. To request an information packet, go to:


    His Mercy Endures Forever, 9 a.m. – 5 p.m., Grand Ballroom, Long Beach Convention Center, 300 E. Ocean Blvd., Long Beach. Presented by The Sower Metanoia. Speakers: Fr. R. Tony Richard from New Orleans; Lay evangelist Jesse Romero; Fr. Ismael Robles; Sower prayer ministry leader Sandra Burroughs, Noel Diaz, founder of El Sembrador. Praise & Worship- The Sower Band. Donation $25/person (Buy 3 tix get a 4th free). Info: (877) 714-5679, Spanish (818) 700-4938. Get tickets at


    New Rite of Matrimony Workshop by the Archdiocesan Office for Worship, 9 a.m. - 3 p.m., St. Junipero Serra, 5205 Upland Rd., Camarillo. Speakers from the Bishops’ Committee on Divine Worship and the Federation of Diocesan Liturgical Commissions (FDLC). Implementation of the new rite begins Sept. 8, 2016, and is mandated as of Dec. 30, 2016. To register, go to:


    How Can This Man Give Us His Flesh to Eat?, 9 a.m.-1:30 p.m., St Madeleine parish, 931 East Kingsley Ave., Pomona. The many prophecies, antetypes and allusions to the Holy Eucharist and Holy Mass found in the Torah and in the Gospels--along with adoration of the Blessed Sacrament. A mini-retreat conducted by Tidings columnist Sean M. Wright. Register at the parish. Info: (909) 629-9495. 

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