For the fourth straight year Sturgis’ Jessica Cline and Alea Penner will compete against the state’s best swimmers and divers at this weekend’s Division 3 state finals at Holland’s Community Aquatic Center.
Cline is seeded 26th in the 200-yard individual medley and 24th in the 100 breaststroke — an event in which she hopes to break the school record. Penner, who placed 15th in diving as a freshman, 13th as a sophomore and 12th last season, has a chance to finish in the top eight for all-state honors.
“This year was more enjoyable then the past three years,” Cline said. “I focused more on having fun with my team and being more of a team leader. I had some good swims, but didn’t meet a lot of my goals. I was not happy with how the conference meet played out. I plan on qualifying for the second day at state and breaking Bronté Stewart’s record (breaststroke) and getting a personal best time in the IM.”
Cline’s best time in the breaststroke is 1 minute, 13.49 seconds. Stewart’s record is 1:11.02.
“It’s crazy to think back when I was a freshman looking up to Bronté and now I’m the senior encouraging the freshmen like Bronté encouraged me.”
She hasn’t decided on a college just yet, but Cline said her first choice is to attend Hope College and swim for the Flying Dutch.
Penner had a lot on her plate this fall while also competing in club gymnastics.
“I haven’t practiced as much as I would like but I plan on going out there and giving it my best shot,” she said. “I just want to dive the best that I can with the lineup I have and not worry about where I place.”