Janel Jorgensen was primarily a butterfly swimmer who competed in college at Stanford. During her college career, she won 15 NCAA titles, and was named All-American 27 times. At Seoul in 1988, she swam the 100 butterfly, placing fifth, and won a silver medal in the 4x100 medley relay. Jorgensen also won a gold medal in the medley relay at the 1987 Pan American Games.
After college Jorgensen worked for Oracle for 12 years in strategic development. During that time, she also served as a volunteer for Swim Across America (SAA), a national non-profit devoted to raising money for cancer research through swimming events. In October 2005 Jorgensen left Oracle to become Executive Director of SAA. She eventually became President and CEO of SAA, with her and her husband settling in the Boston area, where she continued to fund raise for the cause.