Simon Burnett

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Simon Burnett
Personal information
Full name Simon Andrew Burnett
Nickname(s) Psi
Nationality British
Born (1983-04-14) 14 April 1983 (age 31)
Oxford, United Kingdom
Height 1.89 m (6 ft 2 in)
Sport Swimming
Stroke(s) Freestyle
College team Arizona Wildcats (USA)

Simon Andrew Burnett[1] (born 14 April 1983) is an English swimmer.

He holds the British Records in the 100 and 200 metre freestyles, he trains at the USA's University of Arizona--where he attended—and in 2007 signed a sponsorship deal with Nike.


Simon was born at the John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford, the second of the three sons of Ray Burnett and Melanie Verhoeven. He lived in the Oxfordshire village of Chinnor as a child, and then moved a few miles to Tetsworth, attending Lord Williams's School in Thame, Oxfordshire. After completing his GCSEs, he went to John Hampden Grammar School, in High Wycombe, to study chemistry, biology, and physics at A-level. He first swam at Wycombe District Swimming Pool from very a young age, and soon joined the Wycombe District Swimming Club, where he remained until 2003. He was coached by Bob Pay and his move to John Hampden, which was local to the Wycombe Sports Centre at which he trained, helped him focus further on swimming. In 2003, with the help of his coach Bob Pay, Simon won a sports scholarship at the University of Arizona to study business. He now swims for the Arizona Wildcats under coach Frank Busch and lives in Tucson, Arizona.

Burnett began competing at an international level in 2000 at the 3 Nations Junior International. At the ASA National Championships, he won gold in the 50 m backstroke in 2001 and 2002. On the advice of his coach Bob Pay, Burnett switched to swim freestyle in 2003 and began to excel. His television debut was in 2002 at the Manchester Commonwealth Games, where he competed in the 4×200 m freestyle relay and won a bronze medal. The following Olympic Games saw Simon finish 7th in the 200 m freestyle, and he competed in the 4×200 m freestyle relay team, which finished 4th, nearly grabbing bronze medals. The British trials for the Games had been a great success for Simon, in which he won silver in 100 m freestyle and gold in the 200 m freestyle, despite having broken his wrist in a cycling accident in Arizona two months previously. He was now emerging as an elite British swimmer. Swimming for the University of Arizona, Burnett competes in the American NCAAs and has had great success winning gold in his first year in the 200 yd freestyle and in 2005. 2005 was probably his best year yet, returning to England as well for the ASA National Championships. He won 3 gold medals in the 50 m, 100 m, and 200 m freestyle, all of which were new British records. In the United States, he also broke the 17-year old record for the 200y freestyle set by Matt Biondi at 1:33.03; Burnett swam a 1:32.22.

At the 2006 Commonwealth Games in Melbourne, Burnett competed in the 200 m freestyle and won silver with a time of 1:47.38, beaten by team mate Ross Davenport, who swam a personal best of 1:47.29. Simon was also part of the relay team in the 4×100 m freestyle, managing to come fourth, with the South African favourites taking gold. However, the most sensational race was the 4×200 m freestyle, when the English team, won the gold medal, nudging Scotland into second place and Australia into third. The next day, he stormed to individual gold in the 100 m freestyle, leaving the South African entrants Ryk Neethling and Roland Schoeman into second and third respectively. With a time of 48.57s, he set a Commonwealth Games record and broke his own British record by eleven-hundredths of a second.

Before the Commonwealth Games had ended, Burnett was off to Atlanta for the 2006 NCAA Championships. Swimming for Arizona, Simon won bronze in the 50 yd freestyle, silver in the 4×50 yd freestyle relay, and gold in the 4×50 yd medley relay. In the 200 yd freestyle he won gold and broke the US open record with a time of 1:31.20.

Burnett represented Great Britain at the 2008 Summer Olympics in the 4×100 m freestyle relay swimming event.

In March 2009 he became the patron of the newly formed Thame Swimming Club. Thame Swimming Club is located at Lord Williams's Upper School, in Thame (where Burnett went to school). He comes and meets the swimmers and help with training whenever he's in the UK. In 2010, Simon became Patron of the Oxfordshire charity, UCARE [Urology Cancer Research and Education. Simon has been a committed advocate for UCARE, thinking strategically about supporting the charity’s twin aims – to raise funds for research and to raise awareness of urological cancers - dedicating his medal to UCARE at the Commonwealth Games and attending events whenever he can.

Long course (50 m)
Event Time

Date Meet Location Ref
50 m freestyle 22.12 21 July 2005 Commonwealth Trials Sheffield, United Kingdom
100 m freestyle 48.20 NR 18 Aug 2008 Olympic Games Beijing, China
Short course (25 m)
Event Time

Date Meet Location Ref
100 m freestyle 48.83 14 Aug 2003 British Swimming SC Champs Stockport, United Kingdom
200 m freestyle 1:45.24 14 Dec 2003 European SC Championships Dublin, Republic of Ireland
Legend: WRWorld record; EREuropean record; CRCommonwealth record; NRBritish record;
Records not set in finals: h – heat; sf – semifinal; r – relay 1st leg; rh – relay heat 1st leg; b – B final; – en route to final mark; tt – time trial

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Index of Births, Marriages and Deaths in England and Wales, 1837–1983.

External links[edit]