For any athlete, the memory of making their first junior or senior national team will forever be etched in their mind. It’s an unforgettable moment of wearing the Maple Leaf on their cap and competing with athletes from across the world.
Etobicoke Swim Club product Ella Jansen, now 17, was able to experience making both her first junior and senior national teams in 2022.
With sights set on making the 2022 World Championships team, Jansen fell short, missing her opportunity of competing in Budapest, Hungary. To her surprise, however, she still found her name on a senior national team, a goal she had for herself heading into the 2022 season.
“I was in my hotel room with my roommate, it was 11:30 p.m. and they had posted they list [for the World Championships team],” explains Jansen.
“I was like, ‘I didn’t make the worlds team.’ But I hadn’t really thought about Commonwealth Games. I was upset because I wouldn’t be going to worlds and was going through all the names. Eventually after 10 minutes of looking through the list like, ‘Oh, wait, I’m on here for the Commonwealth Games team.’”
Not only was she named to the Commonwealth Games team headed to Birmingham, England, but also the Junior Pan Pacific Championships team racing to Hawaii.
Jansen explains while she was excited, she knew it would make for a long summer with the Games and Championships effectively being back-to-back competitions.
The surprises for Jansen didn’t stop at just making the team.
She went on to be part of the women’s 4×200-m freestyle and 4×100 freestyle relays that took silver and bronze. Jansen also swam to an individual Top 5 finish in the women’s 400 individual medley. These performances warranted her the 2022 Breakout Swimmer of the Year Award.
“Going into Commonwealth Games I just really wanted to enjoy the experience and make some finals and I ended up doing that.”
“With my 400 IM, I ended up going in third for the final, but I knew there was going to be more competition at night. I wasn’t really expecting to medal, but after the race realizing how close I was to it was cool and definitely a learning experience. Then, when I was on a relay, I felt like that was a big moment where you really felt the team spirit. I think relays have that way of bringing the team together.”
After coming home from competition, she said the reality of winning two medals and a Top 5 finish only sunk in when she landed on home soil.
“Being back after Commonwealth Games put everything into perspective. I didn’t really think about big goals like this until I moved to the [High Performance] Centre, so it’s been a good change. Since being back it’s been a good time to reflect on my previous goals and make new ones.”
Getting into the sport at 12 years old and then eventually moving to Etobicoke Swim Club, Jansen said her mindset has always been to perform and practice at a high level.
It was there she met Rob Novak for the first time before they both made the move to the High Performance Centre – Ontario.
“When I met her, what stood out to me was her attitude, and just her mindset towards performance and high performance. Not only does she have that attitude but she has the technical skills to match that,” said High Performance Centre – Ontario Assistant Coach, Novak. “She’ll definitely be successful in the next couple of years.”
Seeing what she has been able to accomplish in the past year gives her more motivation and validation that what she’s doing as an athlete is paying off.
Jansen is getting ready for the 2023 Bell Canadian Swimming Trials at the Toronto Pan Am Sports Centre March 28-April 2 in hopes to make the team heading to the World Aquatics Championships in Japan this summer.