BRADENTON -- Enrolling at Notre Dame had long been a dream of Ellie Berdusco's.
Then she visited the school earlier this month.
And though Berdusco, a senior swimmer at Saint Stephen's, didn't need much convincing, she left South Bend, Ind., more sure than ever that she wanted to spend next four years at one of the most renowned schools in the nation.
Consequently, she has verbally committed to the Fighting Irish swimming team.
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"Ever since I was young, I wanted to go to Notre Dame," Berdusco said. "Then I took my visit, and that solidified it for me. It's a dream come true for me, and I couldn't be happier."
Along with spending time with members of the swim team, Berdusco also got to watch the school's football team beat Michigan 31-0 on Sept. 6 with more than 80,000 other fans at
Notre Dame Stadium.
"That was amazing," she said. "I felt like (the swim team) was really close-knit. And walking around the school, you can tell they have a lot of spirit."
Berdusco has some family in Indiana, which she said is part of the reason she wanted to attend Notre Dame. Berdusco, in fact, was so intent on Notre Dame that she didn't really consider going anywhere else.
"I was focused on Notre Dame," she said. "I knew I wanted to go there."
Berdusco -- who also swims for the Sarasota Sharks, considered one of the country's top club teams -- won the Class 1A state title in the 500-yard freestyle in 2012 and was a runner-up in the event last year.
She wouldn't mind getting another medal during this year's state meet, which will take place Nov. 15 at the Sailfish Splashpark Aquatic Athletics Center in Stuart.
One thing is for sure: Berdusco will go through her final year of high school without wondering where she will spend the next four years.
"High school season is underway," she said. "It is a relief to commit early. Now I can just go and enjoy my senior year."