A record that has been on display in the Ratatorium at Huron High School for 25 years was knocked off the big board last week. And it’s safe to say the new record won’t last as long – if it even lasts the rest of the season.
Sophomore Annie Costello scored 282.45 points last week in a dual-meet with visiting Pioneer to set the new varsity record for a six-dive meet. The previous record, set in 1993, belonged to Katie Gerhardt (280.85).
Costello is an amazing talent but she’s just getting going with potential that is springing off the diving board. Just ask her coaches, experts in not only diving but in turning that potential into reality.
“Annie is a very talented diver,” says Huron Dive Coach Vicki Kimball. “The success she has achieved is due to her hard work year round. She has great strength, jumps well, and is quick.”
Last year, Costello was named to the All-America list of the top 100 divers in the country as a freshman – an amazing achievement.
“I think she will be in the running for the state title this year,” says Kimball. “With Annie being only a sophomore, I see great things happening for her on the diving board in the future.”
Costello was ninth at this past year’s World Junior Trials finals (on 1-meter), is a two time national finalist (7th place in each 1M and 3M) and national prelims on platform at USA Diving National Championships in Atlanta. She was awarded All-American honors.
Matt Ventura is Costello’s coach with the Legacy Diving Club.
“Annie is an amazing and talented person,” he says. “She has overcome so much over the past two years to be where she is at. She is coming back from the 2018 USA Nationals as a finalist on both 1m and 3m. We are hoping for the same this upcoming year.
“I also think she will be a contender for first place at states this year in high school.”
Costello made a big splash at last year’s Division 1 swimming and diving state finals. Despite being only a freshman, she placed fourth overall with 401.60 total points. Three juniors finished ahead of her last year, led by Skyline’s Zain Smith who finished first with 446.90.
Now that we’ve heard from her coaches, it’s time to hear from Annie, a 15-year-old sophomore at Huron High School and the daughter of Beth and Tom Costello. And what better place to begin than the beginning.
“I started diving when I was about 9 years old in summer club diving for Orchard Hills Athletic Club,” she says. “My mom used to be a diver in high school and in college, breaking high school records and was published in the newspaper often.”
And that’s what got her career off the board but it didn’t turn serious for a few years after that.
“She inspired me to become a diver because I was interested in the sport, but didn’t think of it as a serious part of my life, just something fun to try,” she says. “She was also my first diving coach because she coached for OHAC when I started.”
Annie was a swimmer from age 5 to 9 for summer club before deciding to start diving. She joined Legacy Diving five years ago and her career quickly took off.
“The first year that I joined legacy I did not expect to make it to zones, definitely not Nationals,” she says. “But I ended up winning Regionals as an 11 year old and made it to my first Nationals. I was amazed by all the talent at these meets that I realized I was part of that group competing, and I thought about this being an important part of my life.”
With Legacy, Costello has won USA Diving Regionals three times and has won zone championships on all three boards (1 meter, 3 meter and platform). She also has been to Junior Nationals four times, placing in the finals three times.
“I have been to Junior World Trials, placing ninth in the finals, and made so many great friends from the experience, working with amazing coaches along the way,” she said.
She’s also enjoying her high school experience, both on and off the pool deck.
“I loved my freshman year at Huron,” she said. “At the beginning, it was a challenge balancing school with Legacy and Huron practices, but once I got in the groove, it was a lot of fun.
“I had great role models to look up to on the team that showed me how to be part of a team that supported each other. Some of the swimmers and divers I had met at the pool helped me feel more welcome in my classes at Huron.”
And this year she hasn’t missed a stroke – or dive in this case.
“So far this year has been great,” she says. “I am getting to know the new swimmers and divers on the team and I’m loving working with my new coach. I have been looking to beat the record at Huron for a while and I was very proud to break the Huron varsity record at the Pioneer meet. My goals involve learning a few new dives and earning personal best scores.”
Diving has become a year-round sport for Costello, who only gets a couple week break in August.
“To train and prepare for diving outside of the water, I train on trampolines, dryboards (diving boards over mats) and work out daily to stay in shape,” she said. “A lot of diving is the strength and body awareness that is learned in and out of the water. I also write my thoughts down after every practice and during every meet, which helps me calm my stress and strengthen my mentality.”
She also has put up some impressive scores in the classroom. She currently has a 4.0 grade-point average.
She says her long-term goals for diving include “diving through high school and in college, hopefully earning All American awards for all four years of high school.”
And maybe winning a state title (or two) and breaking that school record a few more times along the way.