Spearfish gymnast qualifies for Junior Olympic National Championships
After a long season, a Spearfish gymnast is now preparing to compete on the biggest stage of her career.
Jena Swanson has qualified for the Junior Olympic National Championships in Cincinnati, Ohio.
The Spearfish High School sophomore qualified for nationals after finishing fifth in her age group at the regional competition in St. Paul, Minnesota in mid April.
Between school and gymnastics, Swanson has a packed schedule. The Level 10 gymnast practices four hours a day, five days a week at the Spearfish Gymnastics Academy.
Level 10 is the highest level in the Junior Olympic program, which is just under the elite level.
Swanson is excited about the opportunity to compete against the country’s top gymnasts.
"Just the experience number one," Jena Swanson said. "Just to get out there and compete. So I have the experience under my belt. So for next year and the following years, it’ll be a little bit easier. Also, there’s going to be quite a few college coaches there. So that’ll be another thing that’ll be kind of nice to see."
"Jena has come so far in the last couple of years," Spearfish Gymnastics Academy coach Chris Summers said. "When she first started here, she was a mediocre, if I can say that, Level 9. She has just blossomed in the last year and a half and has really picked up a lot of new skills and a lot of confidence is the biggest thing."
The Junior Olympic National Championships will take place May 11-13 in Cincinnati, Ohio.