Posted on Thursday 16th November, 2023

Celebrating 50 Years

It is with great pleasure that we extend our congratulations to Michele Burley-Jones on achieving an impressive 50 years of service as a swimming official. Michele’s unwavering dedication, expertise, and commitment to swimming has made a lasting impact. Thank you for your longstanding contributions and commitment to our swimming community!

Embarking on her aquatic journey at the age of 8 under the late Frank Guthrie at Enfield Pool, Michele Burley-Jones has etched an indelible mark on the world of swimming. Today, we celebrate not only her remarkable accomplishments but also the extraordinary milestone of 50 years of dedication as a swimming official.

In the early days, Michele’s commitment was evident as she navigated early mornings at the pool before her father would drop her off at school in Burwood, demonstrating the resilience and passion that would define her swimming career.

Throughout her life, swimming has been a constant source of joy for Michele. Even during the peaks of motherhood, she swam through both pregnancies, attributing the practice to two healthy childbirths. Her love for the sport only deepened, transcending the personal and venturing into the realm of competitive Masters swimming.

In 1973, Michele joined Woy Woy ASC when her two daughters were learning to swim. Progressing from a Club Timekeeper to a FINA Referee, she fondly embraced every moment of her journey with the club and proudly holds the title of the first Australian FINA Masters Referee.

The turning point for Masters swimming came in 1988 during the FINA Meeting in Seoul, Korea. Michele witnessed the motion that would allow amateur swimmers and officials to participate in Masters, a game-changing decision that she and her late husband later oversaw as Chief Referees at the inaugural World Masters Championships in Brisbane.

Michele’s aquatic journey extended far beyond the Australian borders, with competitions in various states, Hawaii, and even at the Pan Pacific Masters in Maui, where lasting friendships blossomed.

Michele modestly identifies as “the one pointer” due to swimming numerous events for every point. However, her collection of medals and certificates, including gold in the 200m and 100m Butterfly at the Pan Pacific Masters in Lahaina, Maui, attest to her prowess in the water. Michele takes immense pride in the following:

Pan Pacific Masters – Hamilton NZ

Bronze Medal    100 metres Butterfly 10-17.4.93

AUSSI Masters National Swim

Gold Medal         200 metres Butterfly 04.05.93

Gold Medal         100 metres Butterfly 29.03.97

Pan Pacific Masters – Lahaina Maui

9th Medal             400 metres Individual Medley 23.06.97

10th Medal          100 metres Butterfly 28.06.97

7th Medal             50 metres Butterfly 28.06.97

9th Medal             400 metres Freestyle 29.06.97

AUSSI M S Q Lake Southport

Gold Medal         1.25km OWS 15.10.05

AUSSI M S Q Lake Kawana

Bronze Medal    1.25km OWS 04.02.07

Pan Pacific Games – Gold Coast Qld

Gold Medal         50 metres Butterfly 6-14.11.10

Gold Medal         100 metres Butterfly 6-14.11.10

Michele’s officiating career took her around the world, from Manchester to Hamilton (NZ) and Maui (Hawaii), each event leaving its mark on her journey. Notably, Michele faced challenges with grace, including a humorous incident involving a G-string during a Breaststroke event in Hamilton, New Zealand.

As we commend Michele for her enduring contributions, we also acknowledge her achievements:

  • FINA Masters Officials List No. 1 – 1st January 1995 – 31st December 1998 –– AUS Australia – Michele Burley-Jones (Schofield)
  • FINA Bureau decision 20th November, 1995 – FINA Masters Committee recommendations to the FINA Bureau Technical Officials for the 6th Masters World Championships – Michele Burley-Jones (Schofield)
  • Olympic Torch Relay Runner 16th August 2000
  • Olympic Games as a driver of the Medical Team for Aquatics & Spectator Services
  • Paralympics Games as a Technical Official – lived in the village with the athletes
  • Awarded AM Medal – Australian Sports Medal recognition of services for swimming and working at the Olympics & Paralympics
  • Sports Person of the Year – Gosford City Council – Awarded Medal for services to sport especially swimming.

Today, we raise our metaphorical swim caps in celebration of Michele Burley-Jones’ 50 years of officiating swimming – a half-century marked by passion, dedication, and an enduring love for the sport that has become an integral part of her life.

Congratulations, Michele, on this extraordinary milestone!