Tom Fraenkel

Coach Tom Fraenkel was born in Swaziland and educated at St. Andrews School in Bloemfontein and Kimberley Boys High School, where he was deputy Head Boy  in 1967, and attended the Glen College of Agriculture after graduating from high school.  Tom is married to Anthea who is a very experienced swimming teacher in her own right.

Tom began his coaching career in Mafeking, South Africa (place of origin of the Boy Scout movement) in 1971. He then moved to Klerksdorp, where his most famous product in Klerksdorp was 9 year old Jeanette Kriek whose time of 1:29.30 for 100 meters breaststroke long course that ranked her fastest 10 and under swimmer in the world in 1975.

with Carol Hampshire at Newton Park in Port Elizabeth

In 1976, Tom moved to Cape Town where he remained until his re-location to the USA in 1999.

His most famous swimmers in Cape Town were: 

* Annette Cowley, who placed 5th and 7th in the world for 100 meters freestyle and 200m freestyle events respectively. She also won a scholarship to the University of Texas in Austin and trained under the late coach Richard Quick.

* Glen Hignett, who placed 7th in the world for 100 meters butterfly. He won a scholarship to the University of Carbondale where he trained under coach Doug Ingram.

* Sean Frampton, who placed 7th in the world for 100 meters breaststroke. He won a scholarship to the University of Nebraska where he trained under coach Cal Benz.   The above mentioned swimmers achieved their results in the era that South Africa was banned from world sport by means of the United Nations Sports Embargo which prevented all sporting contact with South Africa by any nation or sporting organization in the world.

Tom was the first white sports coach to coach a sportsman of color in the "apartheid era" from 1968 to 1991, where black sportsmen were prevented from training under white coaches. Claude Cloete not only learned to swim with Tom, but he also became a member of Tom`s team which was illegal according to the laws of the country. Claude became a very valuable member of the team, and not only did he become the catalyst for many other black children joining the team, but he also placed 13th in the Modern Pentathlon at the Atlanta Olympic Games in 1996.

In 1989,  Tom created the famous Frankie Frog Learn to Swim program, and his chain of professional Frankie Frog Swimschools and franchised Frankie Frog swimschools were both world firsts. Many National and Internationally ranked swimmers graduated through these unique swimschools.

Tom is an ASCA ranked Level 4 International coach. He was the South African Swim Coach of the Year in 1983. He is also former coach to the Angolan national team, and he is the first South African swim coach to lecture at an ASCA World Clinic where he lectured at the ASCA Age Group clinic in Fort Lauderdale in 1993.

Tom, accompanied by his wife Anthea and beloved cats and dogs, entered the USA in 1999 on an 01 Extra-ordinary Ability Visa in the Sporting Field. He coached in Tennessee, Idaho and Kentucky before his re-location to La Grange and Troup County in January 2009.


with Annette Cowley

2010 reunion Annette Cowley-Nel, Robert Manners-Wood, Gavin Bromley, Tom Fraenkel, Karen Bromley


Fraenkel to head up Princess Charlene of Monaco Foundation

by ZwemZa on May 8th, 2013

Leading international swim coach Tom Fraenkel has been employed by the Princess Charlene of Monaco Foundation out of the principality of Monaco in the south of France. The Princess is a former South African Olympic swimmer and she is married to Prince Albert, the only son of the late Prince Rainier and Princess Grace.

Fraenkel recently traveled to Monaco where he had the privilege of an audience with Princess Charlene, and was fortunate in briefly meeting her husband Prince Albert. Tom said that he was very humbled to be the only coach they considered worldwide and he has been appointed their Global Swimming Consultant.

This position will entail Fraenkel travel the globe for the Foundation, and their main focus is to promote swimming from the developmental level upwards, worldwide. His first assignment will be in Durban, South Africa where he will be helping set up a Princess Charlene Swimming Academy for a former swimmer of his who is a coach of a young developing team.

He will then be traveling for other assignments in Morocco, South Africa, the Middle East, numerous countries in Europe and South America, and also in the USA. In the US, his first assignment will be teaching Oprah Winfrey to swim and also working at her summer camp that she runs with philanthropist, Dennis Washington.

The Foundation is investing over $100,000 into Fraenkel’s new website where parents will be able to download 5 modules and teach their own child/children to swim. Significant sums from profits generated by this website will be channeled into building Learn to Swim centers in the United States for the Foundation, and the first beneficiary will be the Recreation Center in LaGrange where the plan is to build a state of art Learn to Swim pool, and an additional 25 yard pool bearing the name of Princess Charlene Foundation Swimming Academy.

The second Princess Charlene Aquatic center will be built in Lancaster, Kentucky from funds generated by my website followed by other cities in Georgia and Tennessee. It is envisaged that Nike will eventually be involved as the royal couple are personal friends of Phil Knight, owner of Nike.

Tom Fraenkel squad - Klerksdorp - 1973

Tom Fraenkel squad - Klerksdorp - 1974

Tom Fraenkel squad - Klerksdorp - 1975

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