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.