TuksAquatics was developed in 1929, although it was not regarded as an official club under the Tuks Sport Codes. During this time the University of Pretoria did not own a swimming pool and the prospects of them building a swimming pool were slim. However this did not stop the club from performing and sending swimmers to participate in the SAU-meetings every year. For the participation of the swimmers a pool wasn’t necessarily needed, competition was off-base. Swimming training at this point was not very convenient as the swimmers were training at a municipal swimming pool.
Despite all of this by 1930, TuksAquatics already had a South African champion, Miss HM Weir who returned to swimming that year at the SAU meeting in Cape Town, winning both her items. In 1931 the girl broke records at the inter-varsity , which Miss Weir and Mr Baynon Plokhooi had made. In 1936 TuksAquatics finished second at the SAU meeting due to the female team winning their division.
The survival of TuksAquatics has been a seesaw, with the clubs success having dependence on the available talent. In 1940 the ladies team won the women’s sections of the SAU meeting with brilliant achievements by Miss C Frank. In 1944 it was Miss P Haak who performed again. In the same year the men won the Grocottskild 300 meters freestyle.
The establishment of a Department of Physical Education in 1946 for all sports lovers and therefore swimmers had great expectations. The men achieved second place in their division with G de Jongh and F Botha specially singled out for their outstanding achievements. The year after that was built in the same style with Gerrie de Jongh still singled out. Possibly LO had a lot to do with the success but without a doubt the Hillcrest swimming pool and Mr Dyason were extremely helpful to him.
During the fifty years of its existence Tukkies continued on the crest of the wave and the swimmers were gone. In 1950 the men’s’ team won the Richardson and Voigt cups at the SAU gala with C Du Plessis the pick of the swimmers in backstroke and medley and Laurie Duncker the best in diving. In 1951 it was again Tukkies’ time and both trophies were back in Pretoria. It happened again in 1953 and to add insult to injury tukkies brought keys’ tammai ‘Castle lager’ beer bottle with. The peak of it was in 1954 when Wits hosted the gala Eric Le Roux spoiled it for them by setting three SAU records and winning four races. However, Felicity Loveday surprised everyone due to her achievements, she received her S.A. colours and went to the commonwealth games. She was in the 4x100m team and won the gold medal. In 1955 the men won the SAU gala and returned home with the Ferguson trophy. Eric Le Roux was the best of the swimmers once again. During 1960 a man by the name of Gerde de Bruin set two diving titles and beat the new C Dyson record for breaststroke 220 meter set. This was the first time in the history of TuksSwimming that the Hillcrest team was first when their league ended. During that same year the Tukkies water polo women’s division won their first trophy at the SAU meeting against the Bafourpark women’s team
In 1968, the University of Pretoria grew and developed dramatically and build the pool that we always desired. The pool was equipped with many modern characteristics and this made training not only easier but more effective. During this year another springbok swimmer emerged by the name of Pieter van Niekerk who was selected to swim for South Africa in Rhodesia, now known as Zimbabwe. The following year he was a silver medallist at the South African games while B Glover was a gold medallist.
In 1970, a girl by the name of Katinka Germishuys, a Tukkie began taking matters seriously.. She was a Springbok swimmer and won titles and improved her times at the SA championships, SAU galas as well as at the Northern Transvaal galas. The following year Katinka began her winning streak at the SAU swimming weekend by setting new records in seven of the eight events she participated in. Thanks to Katinka’s achievements the University of Pretoria won the trophy for the top female team at the SAU meetings for 1970 and 1971.
At the SAU gala in 1972, the ladies won the overall competition by 33 points. This year Katinka became the first woman in history to win such a large number of events. This also was testimony to John Tabore who became the first person to achieve this in diving. Both received their Springbok colours, this was an honour that Miss C Davis and Miss W Davis also achieved but for synchronised swimming.
TuksSwimming continued to grow from strength to strength. In 1975, the University of Pretoria represented South Africa in Zimbabwe in a swimming test. This is where Peter Storzner began to shine. During this competition South Africa walked away with one gold medal and four bronze medals. In 1976, Peter took swimming to a whole different level during the inter-club competition which Tuks as well as the Transvaal Teachers’ training participated. For the third consecutive year, Peter Storzner achieved Springbok colours as well as a new star by the name of Anton van Niekerk who also achieved Springbok colours for his brilliant achievements in the individual medley. Anton was Jannie Horn and Suzette Jansen in the Springbok team for the gala in Zimbabwe. W Botha was awarded Springbok colours. Another achievement of the Tukkies Swimming Club was at the SAU gala where the men won their division, the women also did well but finished second. The Tukkies team finished overall first and achieved four gold, four silver and three bronze medals.
Anton van Niekerk
The women’s division won the Saint Trophy, and the team as a whole won the prestigious Robert Trophy Awards. Anton van Niekerk continued to swim for the Tukkies team until 1978, during this time he also won four gold, four silver and one bronze medal at the SAU gala, he also won swimmer of the year at the same gala. Anton also competed at the South African Championships at Ellis Park where he again qualified for the Springbok team and was named the best participant in this special occasion. During the Winter Games, Anton was honoured as the best swimmer at the event. Together with Anton, Jannie Horn also qualified for the Springbok team. A special achievement was when Willem Botha set the world record for lifesaving on the 4th of March 1978.
Clearly these achievements were made possible by the contributions from swimmers like Sonja Germishuys, Susan Stark, Jackie Ludick and Anton Niekerk for their outstanding achievements. One of the early founders, Mr S Zagt and Professor Jannie Pieterse president of the club had a good five years as it appears that during these five years Tuks won the SAU gala.
Prior to 1999 TuksSwimming was a relatively low key operation in terms of numbers of swimmers, however in terms of performances, students at the University of Pretoria were competing at the highest level under various swimming clubs and under the direction This was evident in the 1980’s when Northern Transvaal swimming was at its peak.
Over the years swimmers and Water Polo players continually came through the ranks and competed provincially at the Currie of a formal TuksSwimming club competing as a club within the province this was limited, even though the pool was used during heated).
TuksSwimming – 1999 – 2011 During this period of 10 years TuksSwimming grew from strength to strength. This period saw a growth in the swimming program participating within the club program and competing on a local, provincial, national and international level for the TuksSwimming TuksSwimming was rejuvenated under the guidance and leadership of Mr. Rocco Meiring and Mr. Gary Albertyn whom brought the junior club of TuksSwimming. This was the start of a growth within the program and a belief in what can be offered at a University bringing swimmers earlier into the University club swimming program so that by the time the reach student age they had already knowing the philosophy and with the coaches having been able to ensure appropriate swimming development during the developmental During these early days the club started a satellite program of squads outside of the TuksSwimming headquarters on the University known as LC De Villiers Sports Grounds. These programs comprised of junior squads, coached by an appointed TuksSwimming the head office, specific support in terms of programs was provided daily and weekly to these coaches in outlying towns and areas. and training was provided as well. Over this 10 year period TuksSwimming cemented their performances within the provincial formed the majority of the provincial teams selected over this period as well as winning the NTS provincial championships yearly, from 2002 through to 2010.
On a national level TuksSwimming was just a strong winning the Level 3 Age group national competition as well as finishing top 2 age group competition, which showed the depth to which the club program had grown. Over this period TuksSwimming also level, winning the Telkom Senior National Aquatic Championships, as well as the Telkom SA Short Course Championships.
During the last 10 year period TuksSwimming emerged on the international scene with swimmers representing South Africa and swim meets. This included swimmers at the following major competitions: • 2004 Athens Olympic Games – represented by Roland Schoeman, who won 3 medals at these games becoming the most Olympic games and Lyndon Ferns, who was part of the 4 x 100 Gold medal winning relay team. • 2008 Beijing Olympic Games – 7 swimmers (representing South Africa, Switzerland, Mozambique, Botswana, Congo & • 2008 Beijing Paralympic Games – 1 Swimmer (representing South Africa) • 2003, 2005, 2007 & 2009 FINA World Aquatic Championships • 2008 FINA World Short Course Championships (represented by swimmers from South Africa, Kenya, Ivory Coast, Congo, • 2010 FINA World Short Course Championships (represented by swimmers from South Africa, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Kenya • 2006 & 2010 Commonwealth Games • 2006 & 2008 FINA Junior World Championships • 2005 & 2008 Junior Commonwealth Championships • 2010 1st Youth Olympics in Singapore • African Senior & Junior swimming championships
Over this time period TuksSwimming showed vast improvements within the program and especially in the performances of the culmination of the period from 2005 (when our new Head Coach, Igor Omeltchenko took over the rains) till 2008 Olympics games, swimmers competed in a successful 2008 swimming year with medals being won by all three of these swimmers (namely Suzaan Breaststroke & Bronze in the 100m Breaststroke; William Diering bronze in the 200m breaststroke & Lize-Marie Retief in the 100m Course championships and all three making the semi-finals at the Olympic Games in august of this year. TuksSwimming has over think out of the box. This is evident in them developing a relationship with the American Swimming Coaches Association (ASCA), various courses in Sub-Saharan Africa. As the University of Pretoria and TuksSwimming, this agreement was the first of its kind the world.
As there is no specific club for triathlon they become familiar with of TuksAquatics. There are a number of athletes who participate in these events that have performed extremely well and have competed at international level. Triathlon includes swimming, cycling and running an event. This is such a specialised sport that only three athletes has achieved Springbok colours for triathlon and pentathlons. Miss S Germishuys, achieved Springbok colours in 1976 for triathlon, She was then followed by DG Steyn, who was awarded Springbok in 1978 for pentathlon and Elma Steyn was awarded Springbok colours in 1980 when she was selected to represent South Africa against visiting teams from West Germany and Switzerland.
Water Polo was also introduced as a TuksAquatics sport. Within the swimming history, water polo’s achievements were mentioned as a part the swimming club’s activities, until 1969 when water polo was considered as an independent club. Dr A Breedtas was elected as the president of the new club and continued to serve as the president for many years. It is not clear when the Tukkies swimmers played water polo but it was before 1958 due to the first year that Tuks participated in OSS Northern Transvaal league and won, under the coaching of Tukkie, R Lautz. Tuks also participated in the Northern Transvaal league but they were not quite good enough placing second overall. The team also participated at SAU meetings included Barry van Jaarsveld secured his place in the SAU team. The following year the Tukkies water polo team played again in the Northeast Transvaal league and won. The Northern Transvaal team, including six Tukkies, participated in the Currie Meeting. The next year there were seven Tuks in the Northern Transvaal team and the students also managed to win the Otters-Competition. At the same time, Alan Brown was selected to be a part of the Springbok team to go to the Olympic Games in Rome. During the summer holidays in 1960, the Tukkies water polo players competed in the Eastern and Northern Transvaal leagues and placed first and second places respectively. In 1962 the Tuks water polo team placed first in the SAU meeting. After 1962 there was a long period of silence from the Tukkies team, but after this a long triumph began, in 1971 the water polo players competed at the SAU meeting and placed first and won continuously from 1974 to 1979. During the beginning of 1979, Tuks also managed to win the Inter Transvaal Club competition at the LC De Villiers swimming pool. The Tuks water polo team then proceeded to win both the North Transvaal A League and the North Transvaal’s light spoils. At the same time, the club’s B team won the Northern Transvaal B League which meant that they were also promoted to the A-League. In 1980, the Tuks side had two teams in the A-league. During 1957, Terry Downes received his Springbok colours whilst playing in a tournament in Israel. The following year he returned to the Springbok team as he was selected in the game against the Zimbabwean forces. In 1977 he was elected for a third time for the Springboks as well as Peter Storzner for the South African U/23 side. Since the club was started it has produced over 30 players for the South African and over 25 players for the SAU teams.