By Terry Jacoby/weloveannarbor.com
Diving photos by Peter Draugalis
Back in November 2019 – before she won a state diving title as a junior – Huron’s Annie Costello talked about finding her ideal college. She was looking for that perfect balance of a highly academic school along with a motivated and successful dive team, and a coach that she could learn from and look up to.
Sometimes, the perfect fit is closer than you think. For Costello, it ended up being right across the street.
Costello was officially accepted this week to the University of Michigan’s College of Literature, Science and the Arts (LSA) program. And she had already been welcomed to the U-M Swimming and Diving team.
So, before we look back at an amazing high school career – which included a state title and state runner-up finish this year – lets dive into the present and also take a look ahead to what appears to be a very promising future.
“I am so excited to be officially going to U-M,” says Costello, who will be studying BCN (Biopsychology, Cognition, and Neuroscience) on the pre-med track. “Although I was looking at other schools, I always knew in the back of my mind that Michigan was where I was meant to be. I grew up surrounded by maize and blue and it has always felt like home.”
Her decision completes a maize and blue circle that began when she was 8 years old when she started attending the Michigan Diving Academy. It only makes sense to return to the same pool where she began her diving career. Michigan also is part of the family – her brother, mom, and many family members have attended or are currently attending the University of Michigan.
“When I went on my official visit to Michigan, it made me realize that there wasn’t any other place that I would want to spend the next four years,” she said.
But there is more to Michigan than feeling at home.
“Michigan has a reputation for having a very high level of academics and opportunities, specifically in the medical field, which is what I want to go into,” she says. “Also, the athletic resources and amazing people on the team make me feel as though I will be fully supported like a family when I dive at Michigan. The balance between the amazing academics and incredible diving program makes it an ideal university for me, and keeps me 5 minutes away from my family so that I can stay in touch with my loved ones.”
Costello said she also considered Wisconsin, Iowa and Northwestern.
“I was able to go on visits to Wisconsin and Iowa before the pandemic,” she says. “It was neat visiting Iowa especially because my mom dove for the University of Iowa when she went there for college. I was sad to see that the Iowa swim and dive program was cut as it was an amazing program and meant a lot to my mom, especially.”
Costello is looking forward to diving into a bigger pool filled with greater challenges. It’s not easy for a freshman to jump right in and start contributing considering the talent already on the roster, but Costello isn’t going to worry about anything excepting trying to improve and get better.
“Overall, my goals are to just get better as a diver and continue my consistent upwards progress that Legacy (Diving) has helped me to achieve,” she says. “I have seen first-hand how the immersion of college diving can turn someone into a whole new diver. Legacy divers who have come back and visited from being in college have amazed me with the progress they have made in a super short amount of time being in college. I hope to make that same progress and reach my peak level of diving in college.”
“I know that being a freshman on such an amazing team like Michigan can be a little overwhelming and intimidating, since everyone is so talented on the team. However, everyone supports each other to do their best and get to the level where you can compete, even as a freshman.”
Costello’s former Legacy teammate, Mackenzie Crawford, won Big Tens as a freshman.
“She is proof that anything can happen, even as a freshman, with talent, hard work and commitment,” Costello said. “She has always been someone I look up to as a diver, so I hope to do big things, even as a freshman, just like her. I am incredibly excited to work hard as a member of such an amazing and supportive team. Go blue!”
Costello, 18, took second place this past season in the MHSAA Division 1 State Finals at Novi High School. She finished with 363.75 points. Costello’s teammate, Julie Park, was 10th with 305 points as the River Rats landed two divers in the top 10.
As a junior in 2019, Costello landed first with 425.40 points – a big splash ahead of runner-up Ciara McCliment of Mercy (403.75).
The Huron HS senior says she is most proud of continuing to do her best and improving throughout her four years with the River Rats. “I am proud to have broken the varsity record four times because it shows my progress, consistently getting better scores,” she says. “I am also proud of myself for going to the state meet all four years and represent Huron as well as Legacy. Although not everything was upward progress during my four years, I was proud of myself for getting over the bumps and obstacles that made me a stronger, more persistent diver.”
Costello has been with the prestigious Legacy Diving for nine years. It’s been a huge part of her young life – she spent over three hours there every night.
“It has given me the core skills and mental strength that makes me the diver that I am today,” she says. “I’ve learned so much from all of my coaches and teammates at Legacy. I’ve learned how to be mentally perseverant, as we are pushed hard every day to do our best and try things that are out of our comfort zone because that’s how you grow. I’ve also learned how to be disciplined and set a plan to achieve my goals and continue to work towards a goal even when you face an obstacle, like an injury or mental block.”
Annie, the daughter of Beth and Tom Costello, is ready to take all those lessons along with her incredible achievements and great skills across the street to Michigan where she is planning on taking them all to the next level.