Huron’s Annie Costello dives into this weekend’s Division 1 MHSAA Swimming and Diving State Finals as the No. 1 seed with a pool full of talented divers hoping to knock her down – good luck with that.
Still only a junior, Costello is seeded first with 431.40 points with Hudsonville’s Taylor DeHommel a distant second with 403.80 points. Still, Costello knows she is going to be at her best to beat the best on Saturday.
“I believe that my Huron coach, Vicki Kimball, as well as Dick Kimball, have prepared me to be successful at the state meet because of the great coaching they have given me,” says Costello, as humble as she is talented. “My goals for the end of this season is to do well at the upcoming state meet, and beat my state meet score from last year.”
Costello had a brilliant regional at her home pool by taking first with 431.40 points. And this wasn’t even close with Novi’s Anna Shinohara a distant second with 386.75. The River Rats also had three other divers finish in the top 11 at Regionals.
And Costello is thrilled to have some River Rats joining her at the Holland Aquatic Center this weekend at the D-1 State Finals.
“This season has been very fun and successful,” says Costello. “My season has gone very well, and I am happy to say that I have matched my 11 dive record that I earned last year. Since I won the conference and regional meets, I will be competing at the state meet, along with three of my diving teammates and five of my swimming teammates.
“My team has worked so hard this year and I have grown closer to each one of my teammates. I am so proud of the amount of effort my team and I have put in at every practice and meet.”
Costello finished second at last year’s state finals to Skyline’s Zain Smith who took first with 463.60 points. Smith graduated and now dives at Indiana University. Costello wasn’t far behind, finishing with 455.75 points. Costello was the only underclassman in last year’s top six finishers.
There is little doubt that Costello is a special athlete. She is one of those rare talents that don’t come around very often and when they do they often grab the spotlight. But another special quality of Annie is that she acknowledges and appreciates the help she gets to help make her special.
“I have learned from my dive coaches at Huron (Vicki Kimball and Dick Kimball) how to persevere and work hard even when I am struggling,” Costello says. “They encourage me to push myself every day and have big goals.”
Costello also loves diving for Legacy Diving and competing in the USA Diving series of meets. Over the last year, those meets have included regionals, zones, junior world trials and USA junior nationals.
Her dive coaches at Legacy are Buck Smith, Ed Goodman, and Dan Gironza.
“I have learned from them how to stay calm and focused in every situation so that I can be successful at competitions, even when I am stressed,” she says. “They have also taught me the importance of physical strength, body awareness, as well as mental health and mental strength. Buck especially has been helpful with guiding me through the college recruiting process.”
Annie, the daughter of Beth and Tom Costello, has already begun the exciting and often stressful task of finding a college that is the perfect fit. Her talents in diving, along with a 3.93 GPA, should open a lot of doors.
“Overall, it has been very exciting and I have enjoyed meeting the coaches and teams of all of the diving programs that I have visited,” Costello says of the recruiting process. “Thus far, I’ve had official recruiting trips to Big 10 university diving programs, but I’ve been in conversations with other programs in Division 3 and the Ivy League. My club coaches have also been very helpful with giving recommendations for me and connecting me with other coaches.”
She says she is looking for the best balance between a highly academic school with a motivated and successful dive team, as well as a coach that she can learn from and look up to.
Here is what Costello has experienced on a recruiting trip: “First, I met the team and got to know the coach. I watched the team practice and observed the coach’s style. Then, I got to know the team better by going to a football or basketball game and hung out with them during a large dinner with all of the other recruits. It was nice to witness the team culture and see how much of a family these teams feel like, with endless amounts of support for each other. I really liked having a host from the team at each visit because I got a feel for dorm life and learned what their personal experience was like. I also got to know what the academic programs are like at the school. I looked at the academic center for athletes, tutoring opportunities, the application process, and met with a counselor for a major I am interested in. The visits were fun, yet educational, and helped me to get a feel for the team and the city that the university is in.”
Costello’s more immediate future includes the upcoming competitive season for USA diving where she hopes to do her personal best at regionals and zones and qualify for her second year in the 16-18 age group at USA junior nationals.
But her present focus is on Saturday. And with her coaches guiding her and her teammates standing by her, Costello hopes to turn the No. 1 seed into just No. 1.