Top Performer: Jena and Sami Swanson

SPEARFISH, S.D. — Jena and Sami Swanson from Spearfish know all about the challenges of gymnastics.

They both have overcome injuries and other obstacles in order to have a successful career in the sport they love.

Growing up, Jena and Sami Swanson were nearly inseparable.

Little has changed over the years.

As a matter of fact, the twin sisters both moved from their home in Glendive, Montana to Spearfish in order to continue their passion for the sport of gymnastics.

“In gymnastics, you can never perfect something,” Jena Swanson said. “You can always learn something new. You can always do something bigger and better than you’re doing already.”

Choosing gymnastics meant making plenty of sacrifices.

The Level 10 gymnasts not only spend around 20 hours a week training at the Spearfish Gymnastics Academy, but the sisters have had to deal with their fare share of injuries.

Jena recently fought her way back from an ankle injury that required surgery.

“That kind of threw off my training a little bit and even the commitment process for college this last summer and going into the beginning of my senior year,” Jena said. “That was my first major. But you always have lots of little injuries that you have to get through.”

But she’s off to great start this season.

Jena recently competed among some of the best Level 10 gymnasts at a meet in Texas.

“She had her highest score on bars of her entire career down in Texas,” said Chris Summers, co-owner of the Spearfish Gymnastics Academy. And they didn’t score easy. It was a really tough scoring meet. She did a great floor routine where she made  finals the following day and she put up a really good vault.”

Sami, who qualified for Nationals a few years ago, is still recovering from her second ACL injury.

Although she has been cleared to compete again, Sami is slowly working her way back into competition.

“I’m not quite doing all the things that I want to be doing yet like vault and floor,” Sami Swanson said. “But its a slow process and I’m just kind of taking it by day and seeing where it goes.”

In the meantime, Sami is supporting her sister and the rest of the team.

“I love just going out and being able to support them and cheer them on,” Sami said. “So that’s the best part of it for me.”

“It’s really neat because a lot of people don’t always have someone really close that can go to all the meets with you and everything with you,” Jena said. And sometimes its hard because we get a little bit too much time together.”

Jena hopes to qualify for Nationals again this year.

Then ideally, the sisters would both love to compete in gymnastics at the same college.

“That would be the best possible plan to do college gymnastics at the same place she’s at,” Sami said. “But at the same time, that’s not always going to be 100 percent the case. So we’re prepared if it goes either way.”

“We’ve really appreciated the sacrifice that they’ve made and their family has made,” Chris Summers said. “It is certainly our sincere wish that that sacrifice has been worth it and that they will get a chance to compete at Division I.”

Congratulations to Jena and Sami Swanson for being named NewsCenter 1 Top Performers.

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Categories: High School, Sports, Top Performer