Portuguese Mozambique and Angola

Portuguese swimming

Swimming is South Africa did not developed in isolation, as neighbouring countries all participated in South African domestic sporting events. While Rhodesia and South West Africa were formally members of the South African Amateur Swimming Union, other neighbouring states like Mozambique, Botswana, Lesotho and Swaziland were not, although competitors from those countries often competed in South Africa, and South African teams traveled to compete there.

Significantly, the Portuguese Federation website describes Mozambique as benefiting from it's proximity to South Africa - calling it the "Gateway to the World". This suggests at least some level of contact between the counties - although little evidence of this has been located to date.

The first Portuguese national governing body for swimming was created in Lisbon by a small number of clubs in 1907. The national body grew as more localities joined - and in 1953 Lorenzo Marques and Quelimane in Mozambique, and Luanda in Angola, joined the Portuguese Swimming Federation.

Angolan swimmer Antio Alves was the first colonial swimmer to compete in the Portuguese national championships, in 1954 winning both 100m and 200m freestyle titles. In 1958 thirteen swimmers from Mozambique competed in Portugal. More and more good swimmers came from Mozambique, even dominating Portuguese swimming and winning the national provincial title - the Portugal Cup in 1970.

Mozambique swimmers like Dulce Gouveia (Portuguese Athlete of the Year in 1967), Clotilde Bothelo de Melo, Susana Abreu or João Rocha frequently won national titles. Regina Veloso, 1st Olympic woman, in 1960-Rome, hailed from the small town in Chinde on the banks of the Zambesi river. Veloso swam the 200m breaststroke in Rome in 3:13,3, while Joan Rocchi won the 1960 SA Championships in 3:05,3.

These swimmers benefited from having swimming coaches in Mozambique like Emiliano de Sousa,  José SacaduraEurico Perdigão , Hermano PatroneManuel da MataAlberto Capelo and others. In Angola there were coaches like Jose Manuel Pintassilgo and Orvil Russo.

After their independence from Portugal many Mozambican swimmers like Antonio de Bothelo, Rui Abreu, Maria da Luz and Julia Sobal joined the do Clube Académico de Coimbra in Portugal. rui Abreu was the best swimmer to come from Mozambique. He swam at the 1976 and 1980 Olympic Games. In Moscow in 1980 his time for the 200 freestyle 1:55,25, while Anton van Niekerk won the SA Championship in a 1:58,44 and his 100 backstroke time of  1:00,62 would have beaten Jacques Marais's 1:02,92. 

António Botelho de Melo swam in the 1976 Olympic Games, competing in 6 events. His time for the 1500m freestyle was 17:24,31, while Simon Gray won the SA Championship that year in 16:58,1.  His times for the 100 and 200 backstroke were slow - 1:05 and 2:26, and his 400 IM time was 5:11,48. Guy Goosen of Rhodesia won the SA Championship in 4:44,7. 


Swimming in the Portuguese colonies.

From 1951 all Portuguese colonies were defined as "overseas provinces" of Portugal. As such the country neighbouring South Africa to the east viewed itself as part of Portugal itself - which had a big impact on the official relationship between the two countries. In 1953 the clubs in Lorenzo Marques and Quelimane, as Luanda in Angola, formed their own local Associations, and joined the Portuguese Swimming Federation. 

Despite the national differences in politics and culture, many South African and Rhodesian tourists undertook the long journey to spent their holidays on the beaches of Mozambique, and some sporting contact was inevitable. The difference in attitudes on race meant the countries seldom had any official sporting contact. 

Across the South African border in the Eastern Transvaal at Komatiepoort, and in faraway Angola, the Portuguese had developed a lively swimming scene. Much reserach needs to be done as little is yet known about their involvement with swimming in South Africa and Rhodesia, although teams from those countries are known to have competed in Mozambique. Rhodesian divers used the Grande Hotel pool for an exhibition in 1967, and in 1966 a team of Mozambican swimmers did compete in a gala in Umtali. The University of Witwatersrand is known to have swum at the Club de Sportiva in Lorenzo Marques in 1949, 1955 and 1959 - and probably on other occasions as well.

 In 2011 the All Africa Games were held in Maputo, and South Africans participated in the Games. Today swimmers neighbouring states regularly compete in South African swimming galas. 

Much information about Portguese Africa has been recorded in the Delagoa Bay Company blog site. Click here to see information about swimming in Portuguese Mozambique and Portuguese Angola - on the THE DELAGOA BAY COMPANY blog.

Mozambique and Angolan swimming Pools and Places 

Click here to see a map of thses Pools and Places.

The existence of swimming pools reflects a level of technological and cultural development of that society, as well as providing an indication of the priorities of that society, which chooses to allocate resources to the construction and maintenance of such structures. The fact that such pools are funded not only by public money, but also by private entities like hotels, clubs as well as private individuals provides further evidence of this.

Conversely the absence of swimming pools would suggest the opposite, while the presence of am great many ruined swimming pools indicates a profound change in a society, that once valued these facilities. In the former Portuguese colonies such a change occurred in 1975 after Portugal withdrew form these countries, as it has done in South Africa post 1994 - the many dead pools is sad evidence of this. Both Zimbabwe and South Africa has seen the growth of well funded private schools, which usually include a 25m swimming pool - and often even two such pools. Mozambique and Angola show no signs of such development yet. Towns with Portuguese era were built along the railway lines, and at the mines and ports. This can been seen from the map, on which the remains of these towns, and their swimming pools, can still seen. Many former colonists have also posted their own photographs and memories from these places.The map of swimming pools in both Angola and Mozambique give some indication of swimming and diving in those countries. Portugal was a European colonial power which provided towns built according to it's European standards, which included a swimming pool and diving boards in most towns. Places like Quelimane and Manica boasted Olympic size municipal swimming pools, with pools built by the local Railways club or the mining company. 

In the Mozambique capital Lorenzo Marques Sporting Clube de Lourenço-Marques was founded in 1920, today known as Clube de Desportos do Maxaquene. The Grupo Desportivo de Lourenço Marques club was founded on May 31, 1921. Although the club's main focus was football, in 1949 the club hosted a gala to celebrate the opening of  it's swimming pool - where the University of Witwatersrand swimming team participated.

The Club Naval was another club with a swimming pool in Lorenzo Marques and in the capital Luanda in Angola a naval club was founded in May 1883 - both of which also still exists today. 

The railways in Mozambique started in 1892 with a line from Lorenzo Marques to the South African border at Komatieport, and later a line was built to connect Beira to Salisbury. Railway Depot towns along these routes all had swimmning pools. Swimming pools provided by the Railways under the ubiquitous Clube Ferroviário de Moçambique, which was started in 1924. All of Mozambique's colonial railways were operated initially by chartered companies. Only in 1941 was the last concession company nationalized, thus bringing the railways under the total ownership of the Portuguese colonial authorities.

In Angola the Benguela Railway connected Lobito connected Angola with the mines of the Belgian Congo. Swimming pools were built by the railway and mining companies. The first railway connected the Angolan town of Lobito on the Atlantic coast to the mines in the Katanga province of the Belgian Congo. 

Another famous swimming belonged to the ill-fated Grande Hotel in Beira, which did not survive its liberation in 1975, which was only 400 km from Umtali in Rhodesia. The swimming pool in the west African enclave of Cabinda similarly persists today only as a ruin.


The main colonial centres were in Lorenzo Marques, Beira and Quelemani in the north. Beautiful lido-style swimming pools with diving boards were built in towns like Gondola and Manica, along the Beira road to Umtali.

The road from Beira north passed through Inhaminga, Quelemani, Mocuba, Tete and Namupula, which still has a pool at the Railway Club. No doubt there were more pools, still to be discovered. 1967 an 1980 Olympian Rui Albreu was born in the tete town of Moatize. 

The Portuguese Olympic Committee has awarded its highest honour , the Olympic Medal Nobre Guedes to swimmers like Dulce Gouveia of Mozambique (1967), Susanna Abreu (1969),





1961 de Sportivo club tour to South Africa


Olympic pool at the Grande Hotel, Beira


Alas - the consequences of local management has made the pool unusable.

 Visiting teams did compete in Rhodesia, SA and Mozambique.


The team representing Mozambique in a tournament with Rhodesians swimmers in the city of Umtali, in January 1966 From left to right: 1st row - Dulce Gouveia, Ana Maria Rocha (subject to confirmation), Amelia Sampaio, Suzana Abreu, Manuela Mazoni Coast. ; 2nd row - Ana Maria Bee (suj. conf.), Emilia Maria Osorio, Gourinho Manuela Oliveira, Bernadette Campos, José Luís Ribeiro; 3rd row - Joaquim Gomes, Victor Cerqueira, Domingos Campos Ferreira, Julio Ribeiro; 4th row -?, Eduardo Horta (suj. conf.), José Alvarez, Eduardo Murinello.

The de Sportivo club - created in 1921 in Lorenzo Marques - had a beautiful facility, seen here in 1971.




Racing starts at the de Sportivo club



In 24 July 1949 the University of Witwatersrand swimming team visited Lorenzo Marquis, for the opening of the new Club de Sportivo 33,3 m swimming pool. Unfortunately no record of any other visits have been located yet, although Rhodesians are known to frequent the grande hotel in Beira, and the cutting below show an active swimming scene in the country. 

Some of the swimmers names were Men:  J White, P Byland, Peter Hugo, C Benjamin, D Hughes, H Lipshitz, T Deacon.   Women: A Grant, G Browam, L Bramley, J McKinnon, V Stead


Jefferey Hopft was a visiting South African swimmer, who died in 1960 when he crashed his Mini against the Lorenzo Marques Polona Beach pavilion. Seen here are Pidgi Sousa Costa, Jeffrey Hopft, Eduardo Horta, Fernando Abreu Costa e Carlos Otão.



Joao Godinho - 1950 Swimming champion of Mozambique


Eduardo Horta, swimming champion in Mozambique and Portugal


Three great swimmers of Mozambique: Dulce Gouveia, Manuela Gourinho and Susana Abreu form the De Sportivo club in Lourenco Marques.



Swimmers at Angolan nationals - 1973

António Botelho de Melo is a swimmer from LM who went to swim for Brown University in 1980, and competed at the 1976 Olympic Games for Portugal. Read about him on this website.


As an Olympic swimmer in 1976


Sports College Luanda founded 1928


Luanda today

Angola travel to Lusaka sans stars

by ZwemZa on November 28th, 2013 http://www.zwemza.com/?p=9321


Mariana Henriques of Clube Náutico da Ilha de Luanda is the main absence from the National swimming junior team which travelled on Wednesday to Lusaka (Zambia) to participate in the 10th African cup from November 28 to December 1.

The information was released to Angop by the deputy chairperson for technical area of the Angolan Swimming Federation, Ana Lima.

The official added that the absence of the player who represented the country in the 1st Youth Olympic Games in Singapore 2010, is due to academic reasons.

The official also said that the swimmer was often absent during the last season and is still to report, the reason why she is likely to fail participation in the Zambia competition.

Meanwhile, other absent swimmers are Ana Romero, Carlos Alberto and Pavel Teixeira, who are attending training abroad



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