Jack Hafner was the heart and soul of the Pomona Dolphins for years. Jack was the beloved father of eight children and the loving husband of Pat.
Jack was Pomona’s Tri-County rep for close to 20 years. In addition to his Tri-County rep responsibilities, Jack was also the meet referee for Pomona’s home swim meets. Jack also served as the meet referee for numerous Burlington County Championships as well as a deck official at the Tri-County Championships and Jersey Wahoo meets.
At any meet, Jack would volunteer for whatever job was needed. He would gladly trade-in his “whites” to be a “timer”. Perhaps, he enjoyed this job the most, since it gave him an opportunity to talk to the swimmers before and after the swims. Jack gave his fatherly love not only to his own children but also to any swimmer who crossed his path.
Jack always had a smile on his face and never seemed to have had a bad day. He was always calm on deck and always had the swimmers’ best interests at heart. He would often instruct his stroke and turn officials to be fair, to give the swimmers the benefit of the doubt, and he would hope for not too many disqualifications. He always wanted the swimmers to do their best.
With the Hafner children being very capable swimmers at different age levels, Jack and Pat would often spend their winter weekends going from a Wahoo meet, to a high school meet, to a college meet. Although the Hafner children always swam well, Jack was there to encourage not to pressure. As one veteran swim coach said – Jack was the ultimate swim team parent, ever interfering always encouraging.
Shortly after Jack’s sudden passing on December 20, 2001, the nine Burlington County Clubs unanimously decided to renames the Burlington County Championship meet after Jack. Since 2002, the meet has been called the “Jack Hafner Burlington County Championships.” In 2017 the Burlington County Clubs decided to add some additional area swim teams to the meet and it became the “Jack Hafner Invitational”. A fine tribute to a very fine man.
Jack’s legacy was continued as Pat resumed his Tri-County rep position until 2006 and their daughter Tricia was a Pomona Dolphin coach from 1996 to 2011. And recently daughters Denise and Shannon have coached the Dolphins.
“Jack cared about, encouraged, and cheered for all swimmers.
Not just his kids or Pomona swimmers; he supported all swimmers.” – Rita Fitzgerald