The British colony of Natal was created after the area was taken from the original Boer republic of Natalia in 1842. The old capital of Pietermaritzburg was retained, although Durban was to grown as the main commercial centre of the province. The province stretched from Port Edward in the south to Richards Bay in the north, and included inland towns of Escort, Dundee and Vryheid.
The warm Indian Ocean creates a better climate for swimming than any other part of the country, allowing for year-round training in outdoor pools. The many beaches also help develop aquatic sports, as many swimmers were also surf lifesavers.