2023 Canadian Trials: It’s Ella Jansen Time

by Ben Dornan 9

March 27th, 2023 Canada, International, News


The 2023 Canadian Swimming Trials will commence on March 28, 2023, in Toronto, Ontario. As we prepare for the meet, we’ll be highlighting a few of the biggest storylines to look out for as many of Canada’s top swimmers compete for spots on the 2023 World Championships squad.

Every so often, the Canadian women’s swimming scene is disrupted by a new name, surging towards international team status. Penny Olekisak in 2016, Summer McIntosh in 2021, and now, Ella Jansen. Jansen is 17 years old and started making waves towards the end of the 2021 – 2022 season. At Canadian Trials in 2022, she just missed qualifying for the World Championships team but did qualify for the Commonwealth Games.

At Birmingham 2022, Jansen swam in the final of Canada’s silver medal-winning women’s 4×200 freestyle relay and she was a prelims swimmer for the bronze medal-winning mixed 4×100 medley relay. Individually, Jansen swam the 400 freestyle, finishing 7th, the 200 butterfly, placing 9th, and the 400 IM, placing 5th. For her performance last year Jansen was named by Swimming Canada the Breakout Swimmer of the Year.

Jansen has kept improving this season, showing off her speed at the Knoxville Pro Swim Series. There, she swam a 1:59.08 to tie Katie Grimes for 4th place moments before winning the 100 butterfly with a 58.92. Knoxville will soon be home to Jansen who announced her commitment to the University of Tennessee. She will join the Vols in the fall of 2024, meaning she still has one more season in Canada.

What makes Jansen’s 2023 World Championships prospects most interesting is the breadth of events that she has entered into for Trials. Jansen appears seven times on the psych sheets, in the 400 freestyle, 100 butterfly, 200 IM, 200 butterfly, 100 freestyle, 400 IM, and 200 freestyle. Swimmers often over-enter and drop events as the meet progresses, so it’s not clear how many of those seven events Jansen will end up racing.

Upon looking at the psych sheets and selection criteria, it looks like her best shots at qualifying for World Championships this year will be in the 400 freestyle and 200 butterfly. In both of those events, she is the second seed, has an entry time under or near the FINA A cut, and has a solid gap between herself and the #3 seed. The top seed in both events is Summer McIntosh, who will almost definitely win both of them if she goes for them.

Jansen is entered with a 4:07.18 in the 400 freestyle, which she posted in March 2023 at the Fort Lauderdale Pro Swim Series. That time cleared the FINA A cut of 4:10.57 by a couple of seconds. Her biggest competition will come from Katrina Bellio and Emma O’Croinin who are #3 and #4 seeds with a 4:11.06 and 4:13.27, respectively. But both Bellio and O’Croinin are more 800 and 1500 freestyle specialists and Jansen’s recent speed in this event probably makes her the favorite to claim the second spot.

In the 200 butterfly, Jansen isn’t quite under the FINA A, holding an entry time of 2:10.00 compared to the auto-qualifying time of 2:09.21. Jansen swam that time in March 2022 at a pre-Trials meet and is more than a second faster than #3 and #4 Mabel Zavaros (2:11.68) and Danielle Hanus (2:13.26).

The next tier of events for Jansen are those in which she has a high seed, a time that is within range of qualification, but more competition than what she will face in the 200 fly and 400 free. Those events are the 100 butterfly, the 400 IM, and the 200 freestyle.

In the 100 butterfly, she will enter with the 58.92 she swam in Knoxville, which isn’t far off the 58.33 FINA A cut. Behind Olympic gold medalist and World Champion Maggie MacNeil (56.36), the field is pretty tight for that second spot. Katerine Savard (57.86), Rebecca Smith (58.15), and Jansen are all entered with times between 57.86 and 58.92. And behind them, Mary-Sophie Harvey (59.45), Danielle Hanus (59.47), Kamryn Cannings (59.62), and Maxine Clark (59.86) each have a 59.

In the 400 IM, world junior record holder Summer McIntosh has the top time by over 10 seconds, but Jansen, Tessa Cieplucha (4:39.49), Mabel Zavaros (4:41.52), Sydney Pickrem (4:43.31), and Bailey Andison (4:45.26) will all be racing each other for the #2 spot, and a 4:43.06 FINA A cut. In the 200 freestyle, Jansen’s 5th seed gets her in position for a relay swim, but in order to race the event individually, she will need to fend off the likes of Mary-Sophie Harvey (1:57.94), Katerine Savard (1:58.28), Rebecca Smith (1:58.48), Emma O’Croinin (1:59.03), Brooklyn Douthwright (1:59.90), among others.

The makes five events: the 400 free, 200 butterfly, 200 freestyle, 100 butterfly, and 400 IM, in which Jansen would be a strong choice when predicting the top two. That gives her a pretty good shot at qualifying to swim in Tokyo. And she still has two more entries.

Her final two entries might be more of a stretch, but you never know what will happen at Trials. In the 200 IM Jansen is the 7th seed with a 2:13.97, which is a couple of seconds slower than the leading trio of Summer McIntosh (2:08.08), Mary-Sophie Harvey (2:10.22), and Sydney Pickrem (2:10.58). There’s also Tessa Cieplucha (2:12.03), Ashley McMillan (2:12.52), and Bailey Andison (2:13.17) to worry about, and a FINA A cut of 2:12.98. In the 100 freestyle, Jansen is #15 on the psych sheets with a 56.21 and would need to drop more than a second to find herself representing Canada in the sprint freestyle. The sprint freestyle is Canada’s forté and is the least likely spot for Jansen to break onto this team in.

Jansen has various entries with varying levels of difficulty in terms of making it into the top two and under the FINA A cut. Looking at the big picture, however, it seems likely that Jansen will get onto this team in at least one event. The future Tennessee Volunteer is just one qualification meet away from making her World Championships debut and could be the next piece in the puzzle for Canada’s continued development on the international stage.

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Pat Kroon
1 month ago

We, the big support from the Netherlands , have big expectations of Ella. Hiep hiep hoera alle ballen op Ella

2 months ago

Ella has absolutely incredible work ethic, she’ll go very far, no doubt

Sherry Smit
2 months ago

1:57.64, 4:05.8 FR, 57.68, 2:08.92 FL, 2:11.94, 4:37.85 IM

2 months ago

I’m sure that Ella can become a great swimmer for Canada but she’s probably going to be overshadowed by Summer because they swim the same events. A bit like James Wilby and Adam Peaty.

Ben Dornan
Reply to  Ploki
2 months ago

Yes, for anyone only focusing on 1 swimmer per event, Summer McIntosh will probably be the name to watch. This article is highlighting the fact that Canada may soon have a new #2 in many of those events.

North Sea
Reply to  Ben Dornan
2 months ago

Great article. I enjoyed reading it.

Reply to  Ploki
2 months ago

The better comparison is Katie Grimes to Katie Ledecky. I fully expect Katie Grimes to beat Leah Smith and all comers not named Katie Ledecky in the W 800 FR at the 2023 USA Swimming International Team Trials. Katie Grimes will have two months to recover from the 10k open water championships this year. As for the W 400 FR, the competition is wide open should Leah Smith falter:

Gemmell – 4:05.07
Grimes – 4:05.18
Weinstein – 4:06.24
Sims – 4:06.61

Obviously, Katie Ledecky is the given.

Stephen Strange
2 months ago


Ben Dornan
Reply to  Stephen Strange
2 months ago

Says the most MID Avenger