Although Port Elizabeth is the biggest town in the region, Eastern Province covered the area from Mossel Bay and Outdshoorn, to the Border province around Grahamstown and King Willam's Town. As the Cape grew and farmers drifted eastwards along the coast, new districts were created, at Graaf-Reinet and Uitenhage, which was founded in 1804. It became a municipality in 1877, and soon boasted a municipal swimming pool. Port Elizabeth (or just PE) was founded when the 1820 British Settlers arrived, and it grew to become the first commercial centre of the Cape Colony. It was also the venue for the first South African swimming championships and Currie Cup water polo tournament held in 1900.
In 1799, during the first British occupation of the Cape Colony during the Napoleonic Wars, a stone fort was built, named Fort Frederick, that overlooked the Baakens River, which must have the first swimming place in the town before it became polluted and later filled in, and its mouth enclosed by the harbour. Swimmers also used Humewood beach, until a pool was built along the harbour wall, and a seafront enclosed pool. The 2km long King's Beach grew from driftsands after the habour walll was built in the 1930's. McArthurs bath was built in the sea as a tidal pool, although today the seas have receded and the swimming pool no longer salt water. The municipality also built a number of other swimming pools at St Georges Park (1937), Newton Park (1955) and many more.
Residents of the town used the Zwartkops river for bathing, where the municipality tried to control activities as far back as 1869, when a policeman was appointed to enforce an Ordinance that forbade swimming between 7 AM and 5PM. Swimming in Uitenhage benefitted from a municipal swimming pool and a swimming club, both established in 1898. Triple Springbok Kevin Richards is arguablly he town's greatest aqutic star, although the Uitenhage Swimming Club produced anumber of other Springboks. The town also has a number of excellent swimming schools like Muir College and Erica School for girls. The Redhouse River Mile is a local event, traditionally held in the Zwartkops River since 1927.
The capital of this District was founded by the Dutch east UIndia Company (VOC) in 1786, on the banks of the Sundays River. The town had a Teachers Training College since 1906 (defunct since 1990), as well as Union High School and Hoër Volkskool, where a swimming pool was built in 1948.
The home of Rhodes University (founded 1904) as well as Kingswood College, Doicesan Schools for Girls (DSG) and St Andrews College (all private schools). State schools include Victoria College for Girls (dates back from 1892), and Hoërskool PJ Olivier, which is the only Afrikaans high schoolin the town.
Mosselbaai sent a team to the South African swimming championships in 1920, and today forms a vibrant part of competitive swimming in the region. Laerskool Park has a 25m pool, and in 1999 swimming clubs in George, Oudtshoorn, Mosselbay, Knysna and Plettenberg Bay amalgamated to form the Fish Eagle Aquatics.
Besides the town listed above, there are many smaller towns where aquatic sports history has been made in the Eastern Province. A number of private schools are located in remote area, like Woodridge College which is located 50km west of PE, and boasts with long and proud history of particularly surf lifesaving, but also swimming and water polo. Gill College is in Somerset East, and a number of schools are located along the Garden Route.