Rhodesian aquatics history

Aqiatic sports in Rhodesia was initially organised in Salisbury when the Mashonaland ASA was created in 1915, and two moths later it joined the South African Amateur Swimming Union (SAASU). A team competed at the annual SA championships in 1920, where Jackie Brown of Rhodesia won the 100 yards freestyle Championship, and the 1922 South African Championships were held in Salisbury. 

Scroll  in on the map locations to see the pools in these places.

Rhodesian provinces were:






Until its independence Northern Rhodesia was also a Rhodesian province, with many swimmers from the Copperbelt town like Ndola and Luashayas.

Nyasaland was a province during the period of the Rhodesian Federation 1953 - 1963, after which it became known as Malawi.

With each province holding its own provincial championships, often in municipal swimming pools, aquatic sports developed at the Rhodesian schools and clubs. Many schools had their own pools. 

Below is a history of Rhodesian aquatics - and for more information and photos about Rhodesian aquatics, visit their Facebook Group.

Click here to see the a video of the 1968 Rhodesian swimming Championships, and here to read the 1970 Rhodesian swimming coaches bulletin

1921 Rhodesian water polo team at Currie Cup in Port Elizabeth

Rhodesian climate helped to created the environment that developed its most famous swimmer - Kirsty Coventry - who was born three years after the creation of Zimbabwe in 1980. Before Kirsty Coventry made the country famous in swimming circles, Natalie Steward (although born in South Africa) swam for Rhodesia in the 1958 Empire Games, before winning a silver medal at the 1960 Rome Olympic Games - for Great Britain. Dennis Pearson successfully crossed the English Channel from France to England in 1959, and former Capetonian Marylin Sidelsky competed in the 1964 Tokyo Olympics, before the Rhodesians were also boycotted from international competition.

Click here to see a video of Marilyn Sidelsky.

John Keyter  beat world ranked South African Vernon Slovin in the 100m and 200m butterfly at Newlands in 1969. In August 1972 the Rhodesian ASA sent a team to the Munich Olympic Games. On the 22nd August 1972 - 4 days before the event was due to start, the IOC voted to withdraw their invitation - by a vote of 36 for and 31 against, and three abstentions. Although they were allowed to stay and watch!  Click here to read more about the international sports boycott against South Africa and Rhodesia.

The Rhodesian team in Europe 1972.


More in this category: « SA Swem Geskiedenis SAU 1956 »

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