Ella Jansen Earns 3 Wins, Breaststrokers Enjoy Thrilling Battles at 2024 Toronto Grand Prix

by Riley Overend 0

January 29th, 2024 Canada, International, News

Toronto Grand Prix

  • Jan. 27, 2024
  • Toronto, Canada
  • LCM (50 meters)

Ella Jansen picked up three individual victories at the Toronto Grand Prix last weekend as the versatile 18-year-old continues her quest to make the Paris Olympics this summer before she arrives at the University of Tennessee in the fall.

Jansen took home titles in the 100-meter freestyle (56.54), 200 free (2:00.36), and 100 butterfly (1:00.22) in what figures to be her final tune-up meet before attending the World Championships next month in Doha, Qatar.

Her lifetime bests in the 200 free (1:58.09) and 100 fly (58.74) are within a second of the Olympic ‘A’ cuts, but she’ll have to outduel Mary Sophie Harvey in the 200 free (1:57.70 200 free last December) as well as a few swimmers who were faster than her in the 100 fly last year — Rebecca Smith (58.72), Kamryn Cannings (58.67), and Katerine Savard (57.81) — in order to secure her trip to Paris in those events.

Jansen is entered in the 400 IM, 200 fly, and 400 free next month in Doha. She’s coming off a huge year in the 400 IM that saw her place 17th at the 2023 World Championships (4:43.35) before earning a runner-up finish at World Juniors (4:37.35).

Breakout breaststroker Alexanne Lepage dominated the 200 breaststroke (2:32.29), but she was outdueled in the 100 breast by 24-year-old Sophie Angus (1:08.34). Lepage reached the wall just a few tenths behind Angus in 1:08.67. A University of Calgary freshman, Lepage has been as fast as 1:06.58 in the 100 breast and 2:24.70 in the 200 breast, times that earned her World Juniors titles last September. Angus, who placed 2nd in the 100 breast at Pan Ams last October, owns a lifetime best of 1:07.34 from last July.

Ashley McMillan triumphed in the 100 back (1:01.43), just about a second off her personal-best 1:00.00 from 2022, to go along with a 3rd-place showing in the 100 breast (1:10.31). The 19-year-old spent her freshman year at USC last season, but she hasn’t competed for the Trojans since NCAAs last year. McMillan is coming off a 4th-place effort in the 200 IM (2:13.88) at the Pro Swim Series stop in Knoxville earlier this month.

Ohio State commit Delia Lloyd notched a new personal best en route to her victory in the 50 free. She completed the sprint in 25.90, slicing .07 seconds off her previous-best 25.97 from last July. Lloyd is slated to join the Buckeyes this upcoming fall.

Men’s Recap

Both breaststroke events proved to be thrilling races as Apollo Hess barely prevailed in both the 100 breast (1:02.55) and 200 breast (2:17.88). He held off Gabe Mastromatteo in the 100 breast (1:02.85) and Frenchman Hugo Lemesle in the 200 breast (2:18.16), both by just a few tenths of a second.

Hess owns lifetime bests of 1:01.72 and 2:14.92 that are still some distance from the Olympic ‘A’ cuts in the 100 breast (59.49) and 200 breast (2:09.68). He also holds the Canadian record in the 50 breast (26.63) from 2022.

Stephen Calkins won the 100 free in 50.88, nearly two seconds off his personal-best 48.96 from the 2022 Commonwealth Games. The 25-year-old recently swam on Canada’s 400 free relay at Pan Ams last October, splitting 49.29 on the third leg.

Nathan Versluys was only about second shy of his best 400 free time during his 1st-place finish in 4:00.81. The 6-foot-7 University of Calgary senior has been as fast as 3:59.68 in July of 2022.

Bill Dongfang claimed the 200 fly title in 2:01.89, a few seconds off his personal-best 1:58.44 from World Juniors last September, where he placed 5th. Michael Sava wasn’t far behind with a runner-up finish in 2:02.27. Other individual champions included Jacob Gallant in the 400 IM (4:28.17) and Liam Weaver in the 50 free (23.12), who were both well off their best times of 4:19.68 and 22.63, respectively.

Other Action North of the Border

  • At the UBC Winter Warm-Up earlier this month in Vancouver, Finlay Knox clinched two noteworthy wins in the 200 IM (1:59.29) and 100 free (49.98). Hugh McNeill also made some noise with victories in the 200 back (2:03.94) and 100 back (57.39).
  • On the women’s side of the UBC Winter Warm-Up, Emma O’Croinin (100 free – 55.84, 200 free – 2:02.13) pulled out a pair of victories to lead the way.

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About Riley Overend

Riley is an associate editor interested in the stories taking place outside of the pool just as much as the drama between the lane lines. A 2019 graduate of Boston College, he arrived at SwimSwam in April of 2022 after three years as a sports reporter and sports editor at newspapers …

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