Has Canada Found Their Female Breaststroker? Alexanne Lepage Breaks Out At World Juniors


In one of the biggest upsets of the 2023 World Junior Championships, Canada’s Alexanne Lepage took down Championship Record holder Eneli Jefimova for gold in the girls’ 100 breaststroke.

The 17-year-old Lepage was 3rd at the halfway mark, more than a second back of Jefimova (30.66) in 31.66, but stormed home in 34.92 to overtake the Estonian and claim the title in 1:06.58, out-touching Jefimova by 26 one-hundredths.

Jefimova, who broke a decade-old Championship Record in the semis at 1:06.23, settled for silver in 1:06.84.

It was a thrilling race, and it marked the first gold medal of the meet for Canada. On top of that, Lepage’s swim has major implications for the Canadians moving forward into the Olympic year, particularly for the women’s 4×100 medley relay.

The breaststroke leg has long been Canada’s weak link in the medley relay. At the 2022 World Championships in Fukuoka, Sophie Angus delivered a massive 1:06.21 leg to keep them in the medal hunt, and the Canadians eventually won bronze. Angus also split 1:06.30 in prelims, and the consistency of those two splits made it seem that she’d be the go-to for breaststroke duties on the medley relay.

But now, Lepage has thrown her hat in the ring.

Her time of 1:06.58 makes her the fastest Canadian woman in the 100 breaststroker this season, with Angus’ personal best of 1:07.34 from Worlds the top time prior to tonight’s session. With her time from World Juniors, Lepage would’ve qualified for the semifinals in Fukuoka and eventually finished 12th (Angus placed 22nd).

It’s not just the time that makes Lepage a promising addition to the medley relay, it’s her improvement trajectory. Coming into the meet, she had a personal best of 1:09.07, swum at August’s Canadian Championships. During the semifinals, she swam a personal best of 1:07.60 before lowering her mark again in the final.

Lepage only broke the 1:10 barrier in the 100 breast earlier this year at the Canadian Swimming Trials in late March. Entering 2023, her career-best time was 1:10.69

Split Comparison: Lepage 100 BR Personal Bests

2023 World Junior Finals 2023 World Junior Semifinals 2023 Canadian Championships
50 31.66 32.37 32.61
100 1:06.58 (34.92) 1:07.60 (35.23) 1:09.07 (36.46)

Over the course of the meet, Lepage has taken 2.49 seconds off her PB in the 100 breast. Clearly, a large part of that improvement is owed to her back half, but she was also able to open her finals swim sub-32 in 31.66, which put her well under her own semi-final pace and also kept Jefimova in her sights.

Lepage, who turns 18 in October, narrowly missed the Canadian 15-17 NAG Record (1:06.53) set by Amanda Reason in 2009. She’s already almost equaled Angus’ flying split with her flat start, and has only just broken through.

A product of the Vernon Kokanee Swim Club in British Columbia, Lepage has been representing the Kelowna AquaJets over her last two meets in Canada, led by coach Marc Tremblay. The Vernon club is led by coach Steven Vander Meulen. Based on her Instagram bio, she will swim at the University of Calgary when she finishes high school.

The girls’ medley relay hasn’t gone off yet at World Juniors, so we don’t yet know what Lepage has up her sleeve in terms of a split. But, whatever she produces will be a good data point for what she could potentially bring to the senior medley relay. And, if she continues improving over the next year, she could propel Canadian breaststroke back onto the scene in the individual events in addition to boosting the relay’s prospects.

On the other medley relay legs, Canada fielded Kylie Masse, Maggie MacNeil, and Summer McIntosh. They’ve also got Ingrid Wilm as another top-tier backstroke option, and on freestyle, it’s possible we see Penny Oleksiak and/or Taylor Ruck back on top form next year.

Those swimmers make Canada’s medley relay a consistent podium threat, but adding Lepage could put them into contention with the Americans and Australians next year in Paris. The Australians have had their own breaststroke leg troubles, and Lepage could be just what the Canadians need to move up on the podium.

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9 days ago

I think she is entering the University of Calgary this fall. Would love to see her take the year off and get into a first-class training program before Paris. At her current trajectory, she could wind up being a serious threat there.

18 days ago

Imagine if Australia finds a top tier breast stroker

Nada de Nada
Reply to  Oceania
16 days ago

Deadly, very deadly.

Reply to  Oceania
16 days ago

Australia will lose their top tier butterflier after Paris.

Head Coach
20 days ago

Jason Brockman is her coach. He is one of the best people I have ever known. He inspires and brings out the best in people

20 days ago

Sure seems like she knows what she’s doing and her improvement has been phenomenal.Who is her coach?Is he known for developing breast strokers?

Reply to  bob
20 days ago

Swim Canada has her team listed as Kelowna Aquajets…Marc Tremblay?

Reply to  SwimMom2025
20 days ago

He coached me when I was younger. Great coach and he’s a lot of great swimmers as a coach.

Bo Swims
Reply to  Justin
20 days ago

She was coached by Jason Brockman. Both Jason and Steve Vandermeulen are former UofC / UCSC swimmers. Jason’s no longer the head coach according to the vksc website.

Hopefully he gets some help.


Reply to  Bo Swims
19 days ago

Note that article is from 2019

Bo Swims
Reply to  Swumswims
19 days ago

Jason deserves the credit for helping get Lepage up to this point.

The unfortunate reality is he needs help and I hope he gets it.

No idea if this case was resolved, I do know that for a charge like this they generally won’t send you back if you fail to appear. Regardless, it’s a symtom of an underlying problem, not going to go into the weeds here.

Marty Zaleski
20 days ago

Add to the list of VKSC legends. What a swim.

Reply to  Marty Zaleski
20 days ago

A list that includes Savannah King and . . . ?

Marty Zaleski
Reply to  OldManSwims
20 days ago

OLY and WCT? Also Hrdlitschka, Berger, both Vandermeulen brothers, Anders Mcintyre, off the top of my head. Dave Smit won Commonwealth gold in triathlon. Lots of fantastic age-groupers and college swimmers over the years. Great little club.

"we've got a boil-over!"
20 days ago

Rachel Nicol and Kelsey Wog may have something to say next year. Both vets have had promising swims/meets in the last year or so and cannot be overlooked to return to their peak form just yet. At the least they’ll provide depth and experience to the event and push Angus and this wonderful new comer Lepage.

Reply to  "we've got a boil-over!"
20 days ago

It’ll be interesting to see how all four of these girls stack up in the 100 breast & 200 at trials. I have a feeling Lepage is gonna take the reins though.

Reply to  Justin
20 days ago

Pickrem should be in the mix in 200br at trials too

Reply to  phelpsfan
19 days ago

And then probably not show up at the Olympics? I don’t mean this disrespectfully, but it’s a real pattern that could potentially deprive other swimmers of spots on the team.

Nada de Nada
Reply to  Justin
16 days ago

You might be right. It seems that will be the case.

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Sophie Kaufman

Sophie grew up in Boston, Massachusetts, which means yes, she does root for the Bruins, but try not to hold that against her. At 9, she joined her local club team because her best friend convinced her it would be fun. Shoulder surgery ended her competitive swimming days long ago, …

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