Marathon swimmer Jack Burnell has called time on his open water career ahead of the Tokyo Olympic qualifier in May. Jack, whose career earned him three World Cup golds as well as European medals, was expected to swim in the Tokyo Olympics this summer.
In 2016, Jack was controversially disqualified at the Rio Olympics at the end of the race when he was in contention to take a place on the podium. He now describes that race as his “career highlight and career lowlight”.
Jack struggled with shoulder injury in his final outing in Team GB colours at last month’s Doha World Cup, where he finished 24th.
“It’s not a decision that I’ve come to lightly, but it’s one that, over the last year or so, has been in the wings, waiting,” said Jack in an interview with British Swimming. “From a physical and mental point of view, it’s definitely the best decision for me at this time.”
“I felt I wanted to end my career on my terms. I just thought of sitting on the side of the road in Tokyo, having come 10th or 12th – I don’t want to sign my career off in that way, having had some amazing highs in my career, being ranked second in the world, winning World Cup medals, things like that. I wanted to sign it off in my way and on my own terms,” said the 27-year-old.
Jack, who works in performance mindset coaching, thanked everyone who played a part in his success as an elite marathon swimmer. “I really want it to be known that I was at the sharp end of the sword, I was in there, doing all the training – but there is no way on this planet that I’d be where I am today had it not been for my coaching staff, support staff, friends, family.”
On Jack’s retirement, British Swimming National Performance Director Chris Spice said: “Jack has been a valuable member of British Swimming squads for the best part of a decade now, and he has been a senior figure among the marathon swimming cohort for a good time too.
“We wish him all the best for the future and will support him through this transition period. I look forward to seeing what he goes on to achieve in the future.”
Having followed Jack’s marathon swimming career from when he first switched to the open water ahead of the 2013 season, all the team at Outdoor Swimmer wish Jack all the best of luck in the future.