NCAA Record Holder Simon Burnett Retires

British Champion and 7-time Commonwealth Record Holder Simon Burnett has officially retired, British Swimming reported yesterday. Burnett currently lives in the United States with his wife, and fellow elite swimmer, Whitney Burnett.

Burnett, who in 2006 was the Commonwealth Champion in the 100 free, garnered perhaps his biggest claim-to-fame in 2005. That year, at a mid-season invite, he swam a 1:32.22 in the 200 free to blow away the old NCAA and U.S. Open records in the race. The previous marks had been held by legendary American swimmer Matt Biondi at 1:33.03: 17 years earlier.

What was especially notable was that this swim was done mid-year (though at Arizona, mid-year meant big-rest), but it was done in the “B” final of a meet that he wasn’t even swimming that well at.

He would go on to win the NCAA crown that year, his 2nd in the event, and in 2006 would take the mark down to a then-unthinkable 1:31.20, one of the few records anywhere that still stands from prior to 2008 and the rubber suits.

Burnett made an Olympic final in 2004, and though he was on a relay in his final games in front of a home crowd in London, he still has indicated some disappointment that he didn’t make the qualifying times for the individual 200 at Britain’s trials, tweeting “I’m sorry I wasn’t able to deliver today.”

I think fans of British Swimming, Arizona Swimming, and great swimming will all agree that no apologies are necessary.

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8 years ago

I had the pleasure of meeting Simon at GWG’s dinner in Charlotte last year, and then Whitney as well at Nationals. Lovely people both of them, very much class acts, and I wish them all the best as they start on this new phase of their lives.

John Foster
8 years ago

I remember standing next to Nort (Who coached Biondi to that 1:33.03) during that race at the Texas Invite my first year at Cal…it was a helluva swim! Best to him and Whitney!

Sam Kendricks
8 years ago

I had the pleasure of announcing many of Simon’s (and Whitney’s) races over the years. including that 1.32.22 in the B Finals at the Texas Invite.

As I remember, I think Simon went 1.37+ in the prelims, which was pretty dang good for a morning swim that time of year, but I thought he might go a 1:36 or so. He had a stellar 50 free the night before so I should have ready for him to pop a good swim.

The crazy part from my end was that as the meet announcer, I nearly missed that race call. Shortly after the race began some meet personnel began asking me questions and then I did a bit of last… Read more »

About Braden Keith

Braden Keith

Braden Keith is the Editor-in-Chief and a co-founder of He first got his feet wet by building The Swimmers' Circle beginning in January 2010, and now comes to SwimSwam to use that experience and help build a new leader in the sport of swimming. Aside from his life on the InterWet, …

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