Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Beneath The Surface of Masters: Jason Burnett (East Lothian Masters)

We are looking deeper into the lives and personalities at the heart of the Scottish Masters community through our ‘Beneath The Surface’ feature. 

Here's our first of several interviews with Masters swimmers, as well as some fantastic underwater photos courtesy of GBswimstars.

After years of making surfboards for personal use, Jason Burnett (42) from Midlothian turned his hobby into a business and is now very much in demand as a surfboard shaper.  He swims with East Lothian Masters.

Tell us about your swimming journey

I started swimming with Bonnyrigg Amateurs when I was nine and was with then until I was twelve.  When I started to beat some of their swimmers, Warrander suggested I come and swim with them.  I had great fun at the club but was also surfing by that point and when I was seventeen I started losing interest in swimming and really getting into surfing. 

When did you become a Masters Swimmer?

I started swimming with East Lothian Masters two years ago to keep my fitness levels up.  I was getting out of shape because you can only surf when there are good waves and sometimes you can go two or three weeks without the right conditions.   That meant I felt tired when I was surfing and that annoyed me, so I decided to get back into swimming. 

What Masters training do you do?

I swim three times a week at Prestonpans and we try to keep the session simple, so ten minutes of warm up, then 1000m of one stroke followed by 2000m of another.  Really whatever we can fit into an hour in the pool. 

What’s the highest level you’ve competed at?

I entered the East District Masters two years ago and it was my first competition in over twenty years and got the bug again for it.  I swam in the Scottish Masters at Glasgow last year in the 50m and 100m freestyle, along with the 50m and 100m breast.  I finished first in both breaststroke events and second in both freestyle events. Competitions are so much more fun than training. 

What do you love about swimming?

It keeps you fit and it is relatively easy to keep that fitness if you keep training.  It is less sressful on your body and is so much more fun than running.

What do you hate about swimming?

Nothing now, but when I was a teenager I used to hate getting up in the morning for training.   At Prestonpans now, we train at 8pm at night and if I’ve had a hard day at work, sometimes I can’t be bothered going, but once I’m in the pool I’m so grateful I made the effort.

What are you most proud of in your swimming?

The times I’m achieving in the pool.  I keep an eye on the times and I’m doing 50m breast in about 38 seconds and 50m front in about 30 seconds. 

What are you most proud of out of the water?

My surfing. Last year I entered the Masters equivalent in surfing at the Scottish Championships and won my event in Thurso.   That, along with my swimming made it a good year in and on the water. Surfing in Scotland is cold and at this time of year the day is really short, so if you want to go surfing you have to be able to drop whatever you are doing whenever you are doing it and head for the waves – because they’ll not be there the next day.  

What would you say to recreational swimmers thinking about Masters?

Don’t think about it – just go along and see how much fun it is.  You’ll meet like-minded people that have a passion for swimming.  There’s also a great social scene to accompany the swimming.

Give us some tips on becoming a better swimmer.

Train lots, work on your technique and keep active both in and out of the pool.   

Jason was interviewed by Chris Kane.  Read more Swim Social Blogs/Interviews here