Kaitlin Costello can identify with one of C.S. Lewis' famous adages.
The late influential writer wrote in his fantasy novel “The Silver Chair” that “Crying is all right in its way while it lasts. But you have to stop sooner or later, and then you still have to decide what to do.”
Costello cried a lot almost three years ago when she pondered a decision to give up gymnastics. She eventually quit gymnastics and now is one of the state's top divers, while competing on the Douglas County/Castle View co-op swimming team.
“I was a gymnast for 10 years of my life until March of my freshman year,” said Costello, now a senior at Castle View. “I started thinking about it and it took me a long time to realize that quitting was what I wanted to do. I would cry all the time thinking about it because gymnastics had been my life for so long.
“I was a gymnast. I would go to school, get out of school, go to practice, come home, do my homework, eat dinner and go to bed. That was my everyday life. When I made the decision, I told my Mom. She told me later that she didn't sleep for a week after I told her. My Dad didn't yell at me but he was taken back. After a week they decided it was my decision, my life and I was going to pick what I wanted to do with it.”
Costello's aching body helped make the decision to abandon gymnastics.
“I was so hurt,” she explained. “I fractured my back and my arm was so messed up. I said `I'm done with the sport. I don't want to hurt any more.' Two weeks later I said `I want to dive.' The next summer I qualified for nationals. I just took to it very well. I guess I picked a pretty good time to quit. I was so sick of gymnastics. I love diving. All my coaches are so nice.”
Costello has the state's third best score recorded so far that season. Her 446.50 total on the one-meter board ranks behind only McKensi Austin of Regis Jesuit and Chatfield's Averly Hobbs.
“She keeps progressing,” said Douglas County/Castle View diving coach Sara Ryon. “She is always so positive. I would put her in the top five divers in the state. She works very hard to get everything clean.”
Head coach Will Amos praises Costello for more than just diving.
“Kaitlin has a 3.95 GPA and is a three-year member of the National Honor Society,” he explained. “It is her long-term ambition to be an orthopedic surgeon. She has accumulated over 40 hours of community service. She is a team captain and an important part of our team's leadership.
“She has been a competitive diver for three years and has competed in both senior and junior divisions at the national level in all disciplines.”
Costello, who will heading to Arizona next fall on a diving scholarship, placed 10th in the CHSAA state championships as a sophomore and fifth last year.
She is the first to admit her gymnastics background has helped her have the flexibility and strength to stand out as a diver.
“It helped my air awareness to know where you are at,” said Costello. “A big part of diving is spotting the water. It's not like gymnastics and doing two flips and landing on the hard surface of the floor. If you don't know where you are, you are kind of screwed. Having the preexisting ability to twist has helped.”
Costello knows she needs an excellent performance to beat Austin and Hobbs at next month's state meet.
“We are the only three that are club divers,” said Costello. “I definitely have the ability to beat McKensi and Averly but I have to have a good meet and be focused. I try not to think about winning state because in the past at nationals when I would think about winning, I would screw everything up. But it is always in the back of my mind that I could be the person that wins state.”