"I was still in OK shape. It wasn't as bad as I thought it was going to be," she said. "But the first meet was really rough."
That's because when the family arrived home from Japan on June 17, the two practiced with the Sharks the next day and swam in their meet that evening.
"I was jet-lagged, and I hadn't swam in six months," Jessica said.
"I almost fell asleep at the meet," Jacob added.
The two were in Japan because their father, Jeff, was transferred there with his job with Corning Glass Works. Jeff Smith is helping the company build factories in two Japanese cities, Kobe and Osaka.
They will return to Japan later this month - Jessica will take friend and teammate Maggie Matheny with her for a short visit - and they'll be there for most of a three-year period, coming home for a few weeks each summer and winter.
That means they were uprooted from their lives and their friends at Boyle County high school and middle school, where Jessica would be a sophomore and Jacob would be a seventh-grader.
"I was kind of laid back about it, but as it got closer I was really nervous because I didn't want to leave my friends," Jessica said.
It didn't help that they had little to do when they arrived in Japan a month before school opened.
They live in an area heavily populated by foreign nationals, and they go to an international school where 38 countries are represented and where learning English is a requirement.
"Everybody except us was bilingual," Jessica said.
Jessica made friends at that school, while Jacob joined a Japanese club swimming team.
"He was immersed a lot more than I was," Jessica said. "I didn't know that much Japanese and I wasn't sure how to get around."
Meanwhile, Jacob was enjoying his time in the pool, though he said suie - the Japanese word for swimming - is quite a bit different there than here.
"They don't really have the pool space to do anything long distance, so it's almost all sprints," he said.
In addition, he said swimmers specialize in their best strokes and are limited to about two events per meet so that everyone on the large roster can participate.
"I only swam freestyle and backstroke, and that's it," he said.
Jessica said she made it out to only one of her brother's meets.
"I was the only non-Asian there, so they all gawk at you," she said.
She said swimming has always been a big part of her life, but it isn't something she plans to do in Japan.
"I missed it but it was neat to be able to try different things like soccer, and to be able to have more time to study and hang out with my friends," she said. "I definitely enjoy being able to swim again, but I don't want to get back into the really competitive club swimming."
She said she wants to play soccer again when she returns, and she might also try volleyball and basketball.
Jessica said she missed "little things" like grass, which isn't always in view in densely populated Japan.
"There's almost no grass, so I really missed the grass. Even on the soccer field, it was just a dirt and rock pitch," she said. "And it's so bright (at night), I missed seeing the stars."
They both said there are also things they miss about Japan when they're here. They said Japan is a much safer country than their own, and they said it was much easier to get around either on foot or on commuter trains.
"I was completely independent. I would walk everywhere," she said. "I miss the ease of getting around. Here I'm dependet on my mom for a ride."
Both siblings said they made new friends among the other foreigners in Japan with them, and they said some of them will be there when they return, but many will not.
"A lot of companies are moving their expatriots out," Jessica said.
Meanwhile, they also work hard to maintain the friendships they have here through Facebook and Hotmail.
"Facebook is probably the best way to keep in touch when you're out of the country, and Hotmail, if you can catch the time (difference) right," Jessica said.