Hall of Fame

Mia Costello
Swimming & Diving

Graduation Year


Induction Year


Hall of Fame

Harvard Athletic Achievements

Mia was a standout member of the women's swim team during a time of great success for the program. She was Head Coach Maura Costin Scalise’s first individual All-American in the 200 breastroke in 1987. The Crimson also sent a relay team of fellow inductee Sheila Findley ‘90, Costello, Mary Quinn ‘90 and fellow Hall of Famer Linda Suhs Cleveland ‘89 to the NCAA Championships that year, and the group received All-America honors in both the 200 and 400 medley relays. The following year she earned All-American honors again in in the 100 and 200 breaststroke and 200 and 400 medley relays. An Ivy League Champion in 1987 and 1988 in the breaststroke she also earned the same honor in 1988 in the 200 breaststroke.

Hall of Fame

Remembering Harvard Athletics

It is an honor to be here tonight and share this evening with so many talented athletes and outstanding individuals. I feel there are so many people I want to thank for their support over the years--my family, my many coaches and my teammates. I would like to dedicate this honor to my parents, Ann and John Costello. Swimming has been a part of my life since I was very young, and remains a part even today. Upon entering elementary school, during my first visit to the school nurse she discovered I had scoliosis, or curvature of the spine. Almost immediately, I found myself enrolled in swimming lessons and ballet--strict orders from Dr. Zartman as a means of strengthening muscles in my back.

Swimming won out over ballet eventually, because I found the prospect of travel more interesting. At age 8, that meant taking the eight-hour train from Anchorage to Fairbanks to compete in the Midnight Sun Swim Meet. Later, that travel included Hawaii and Venezuela with the Harvard team, and Canada and Africa as a masters swimmer.

From the early days of swimming on an age-group team, to high school competition, collegiate swimming and masters competitions, I have amassed so many wonderful memories that all come back to my involvement in the sport. Besides a debt of gratitude the sport of swimming has given my health, I also have a sense of gratitude for the sport helping guide my life, shaping friendships, providing a sense of what it means to be committed to a goal, riding out the rough days with a hope that today's tough workout will pay off in tomorrow's race. Swimming taught me the value of patience, hard work and keeping your eye on a goal.

It was an honor for me to represent Harvard as a member and co-captain of the Women's Swimming and Diving team during my years at Harvard. Besides the thrill of competing at NCAA's, I especially enjoyed being a member of the medley relay team, where fellow inductee, backstroker Sheila (Findley) Olson and I became fast friends and enjoyed hob nobbing around during the hours spent outside the pool. Our dual meets and the bus rides to them were always a source of entertainment.

Coach Maura Costin-Scalise deserves my appreciation, too. Her motto was to have the most fun and the fast times would follow. She was right--we had a great time as a team, participating in our team rituals and gatherings, making T-shirts for each other, going on holiday training trips, and spending a lot of time laughing.

She was tough, but also caring. Knowing I had come all the way from Alaska, Maura took the time my freshman year to write a note to my parents, telling them she enjoyed having me on the team. That note made its way into my scrapbook, and is a reminder that after the race is over, the lasting gains from competing are the character-building that got you there and the relationships you've formed.

Today, as my life's rhythms have changed from classes and swim practice to a career and raising a child, swimming provides a common link to all parts of my life. No matter where I go, or where I travel, there is always a pool somewhere and a lap lane that can take me back in time to those days of our polyester team warm-up, the early mornings at Blodgett and Maura's tough workouts.