Simon Burnett

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Simon Burnett
Personal information
Full nameSimon Andrew Burnett
National team Great Britain
Born (1983-04-14) 14 April 1983 (age 36)
Oxford, England
Height1.89 m (6 ft 2 in)
Weight83 kg (183 lb)
ClubWycombe District
College teamUniversity of Arizona (U.S.)

Simon Andrew Burnett (born 14 April 1983) is an English competition swimmer who has represented Great Britain in the Olympics and European championships, and England in the Commonwealth Games.

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 a very young age,[clarification needed] 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 Pay, Burnett won a sports scholarship at the University of Arizona to study business. He now[when?] swims for the Arizona Wildcats under coach Frank Busch and lives in Pasadena, California with his wife and daughter Berkeley Francis Burnett.

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-meter backstroke in 2001 and 2002. On the advice of 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-metre freestyle relay and won a bronze medal. The following Olympic Games saw Burnett finish 7th in the 200-metre freestyle, and he competed in the 4×200-metre 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 a silver medal in 100-metre freestyle and a gold medal in the 200-metre freestyle, despite having broken his wrist in a cycling accident in Arizona two months previously. He was now emerging as an elite British swimmer.[citation needed] Swimming for the University of Arizona, Burnett competed in the American NCAAs and won gold in his first year in the 200-yard freestyle and in 2005. 2005 was probably his best year yet,[citation needed] returning to England as well for the ASA National Championships. He won three gold medals in the 50-metre, 100-metre, and 200-metre freestyle, all of which were new British records. In the United States, he also broke the 17-year-old record for the 200-yard 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-metre 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. He was also part of the relay team in the 4×100-metre freestyle, finishing fourth, with the South African favourites taking gold. However, the most sensational race[citation needed] was the 4×200-metre freestyle, when the English team won the gold medal, nudging Scotland into second place and Australia into third. The next day, he won individual gold in the 100-metre freestyle, leaving the South African entrants Ryk Neethling and Roland Schoeman into second and third respectively. With a time of 48.57 seconds, he set a Commonwealth Games record and broke his own British record by eleven one-hundredths of a second.

Before the Commonwealth Games had ended, Burnett was off to Atlanta for the 2006 National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) championships. Swimming for Arizona, Burnett finished third in the 50-yard freestyle, second in the 4×50-yard freestyle relay, and first in the 4×50-yard medley relay as a member of the Arizona Wildcats teams. He won the title in the 200-yard freestyle 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-metre freestyle relay swimming event.

In March 2009 he became the patron of the newly formed Thame Swimming Club, located at Lord Williams's Upper School, in Thame. He comes and meets the swimmers and helps with training whenever he is in the UK.[citation needed] In 2010, Burnett 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.[citation needed]

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]


  • Evans, Hilary; Gjerde, Arild; Heijmans, Jeroen; Mallon, Bill. "Simon Burnett". Olympics at Sports Reference LLC.

External links[edit]