It is with sadness that the Club informs you that John Foley passed away on the morning of 3rd November.
John joined Swanbourne Nedlands SLSC in 1958/59 as a Juvenile Member. With the Club’s swimming stocks suffering a brief decline, Reg Trigg initiated a drive in local schools, particularly Hollywood Senior High School, and the outcome was spectacular. Among those who joined were Robert Milne, Geoff Miller, Doug Thompson, John Lingard, Russell Oldham, John Foley, lan Huggett and Deane Pye, most of whom were to remain hard-working members for many years.
John gained his Bronze Medallion, WA 1010 on 13th October 1962 with Swanbourne Nedlands. As Junior from the 1962/63 Season, John’s competitive ability was displayed:
1962-63 State Champion Junior Surf Team with Robert Milne, Geoff Miller and Doug Thompson.
1962-63 Bronze Medallist in the Junior Champion Lifesaver and as a member of the Junior Rescue and Resuscitation with Robert Milne, Doug Thompson, Geoff Miller, John Flannery and John Lingard.
1963-64 Silver Medallist in the Junior Belt Race and as a member of the Junior Rescue and Resuscitation with Robert Milne, Doug Thompson, Geoff Miller, John Lingard and George Jolly.
1963-64 Bronze Medallist in the Junior Surf Teams with Robert Milne, Doug Thompson and Geoff Miller.
The competitive highlight for John was at Denmark in 1968, when Swanbourne’s first Senior Boat race title was won. The Denmark win was a real epic, for the crew had a very mediocre record. Nevertheless they had proved at a very rough Scarborough carnival beforehand that they would be real contenders in big seas. At Denmark the sweep Edwin Jaggard was delighted to find they were mountainous! The Swanbourne crew lived up to their outsider status in their morning heat, rowing badly until they reached the break heading back. There all hell had been let loose – oars, overturned boats, and rowers floating around in the big waves which Swanbourne handled comfortably.
In the repechage they scored a magnificent win, riding a large wave for almost 300 metres and winning by the proverbial street. By the time of the final everyone was confident. Mountainous swells, a bad chop, cold winds and the sun setting behind the dunes were hardly ideal conditions but they suited the Swanbourne crew who led through the break and thereafter were never headed. Edwin Jaggard, Greg Sladden, Terry and John Foley and Mal Jones were exultant when still in front when re-entering the break, and even though Cygnet II was half full they controlled it over the bank then rowed desperately for the line. It was a stunning victory.
John’s service to the Club administration began with his role as Vice Captain Patrol Officer (equivalent of Lifesaving Manager today) in 1964-65. At only 19 years of age he was elected Treasurer in the 1966-67 Season, a role he continued for the following two seasons until 1968-69. He was a Committee Man in 1965-66 and on the Social Committee in 1968-69. John succeeding this father Ted and became President in 1973-74, during a challenging season for the Club, following the outstanding competitive success of the previous season with wins in the highly coveted Senior Rescue and Resuscitation and Open Surf Boat Race double, given the loss of a large number of members, and retirement of the State championship boat crew and other key competitors.
An accountant by profession, John was Treasurer of the Surf Life Saving Association of Australia, Western Australian State Centre (known today as SLSWA) from 1984-85 to 1986-87. Reg Trigg was particularly proud in having two Swanny Members at State Centre during this period, with Ed Jaggard as President and John as Treasurer. Combining financial acumen with a strong background in surf lifesaving made John a great contributor to the Board of Management with his perceptive comments.
As a patrolling lifesaver John was a member of the 1962-63 and 1965-66 Patrol of the Year. John was awarded his Long Service Membership in 1986/87, being part of the first group awarded this honour at the Club. Most recently John re-joined the Club in 2007-08 and was a Swanny Veterans Member for a number of seasons.
John’s other competitive successes included the Caris Cup Club Marathon Special Cadet Award in 1960-61, the Points Races Beach Sprint Open Male Champion in 1965-66 and being a member of the winning Denmark Carnival Senior Beach Relay team of 1966. John competed in the 1973 Australian Championships at Burleigh Heads, Queensland as a member of the Reserve Grade Surf Boat Crew. More recently he attended the 2004 and 2006 Australian Championships at Kurrawa, Queensland. At the 2004 event he did a fine impression of his younger brother Terry in the 50 to 54 years Male Surf Race whilst wearing the red and white cap.
John about to compete at the 2004 Australian Championships