So stunned was Ian Bourke’s reaction to being inducted as a life member of the Leagues Club he could simply say “of what?”

Mr Bourke was recognised for more than half a century contribution to the club by being awarded a life membership. Despite being such a long-term member he was shocked by the news. Ian Bourke was a founding member of the St George Leagues Club Swimming Club (known affectionately as the Saint George Water Dragons) formed in January 1964.

During his membership of the Water Dragons Ian served as Club President from 1994 to 1998 and as Vice President from 1999 to 2002 and from 2004 to 2007. Ian was also a Committee Member from 1991 to 1994 and again from 2007 to 2011. Ian was also a Club Delegate from 1997 to 2001.
“I was stunned,” Mr Bourke said. “I couldn’t believe it when general manger Danny Robinson said I was nominated for life membership, I said “of what?”
Mr Bourke has been a club member for 52 years and is still an active member of the swimming club. He followed his Leagues Club life membership by also being awarded life membership of the swim club in February.

“I was part of the inaugural swimming club,” Mr Bourke said. “You had to be a member of the Leagues club to swim. The swimming club started at the old Ramsgate Baths, you wouldn’t be able to do that nowadays.”

In the pool Ian has enjoyed considerable success over many years and as a member of the Water Dragons has collected three Summer 50 metre Swimming Championships, two 50 metre overall Season Swim titles, a 200 metre Championship, and has been the Club’s Swimmer of the Year.
Ian has also won two distance Swim championships, two`A’ grade Championships, two Jack Dowell Championship trophies as well as two
Russ Blatch trophies.

As recently as 8 February this year to illustrate Ian’s renowned presence in the pool and ongoing success, Ian won the 50 metre nominated time event at the prestigious Saints Shield Carnival at Carss Park Pool. Mr Bourke was also an influential policeman in the St George area, working closely with the Leagues and Football clubs in the late 1980s to early 1990s.

“When I was at Kogarah police I was made the liaison officer between the police and the leagues and the football clubs,” Mr Bourke said. “I had a fair bit to do with the club that way.

“There were a few little issues with the footballers but you’d sort those out.
Working with them and the club was good.”
Mr Bourke retired from the police force after 34 years in 1999. He is also an active member of the Cronulla RSL, where he is the club’s chairman and has also been awarded life membership.

At 74 he shows no signs of letting up as he prepares to participate in the Murray Rose Malabar Magic Ocean Swim on February 19 alongside his daughter Stephanie.