Schools Swimming

The South African state school system, once on par with any country in the world, is today ranked last in the OECD rankings. This has created an opportunity, and need, for school to become commercialsed- schools have become big business in South Arica. Private school companies like Curro are listed on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange. Private schools, and competant state schools, have built extravagant facilities and employ professional coaches to attract paying customers. The same has happened in the former Rhodesia - now Zimbabwe.  Website like SA Schools Sports cater for this market, publishing results and rankings for various schools sports.The port-1994 professionaliztion of sport in South Africa, and the commercialization of schools, has led to a huge improvement in school sports. 

Aquatic sports history at South African school level is mostly about swimming, with some diving, life saving and water polo, while pupils also participated in club competitions. In the last ten years the popularity of water polo has resulted in schools fielding 10 or more teams, and building a second school pool to satisfy the demand. Unlike rugby and cricket, swimming has traditionally flourished outside the school environment where local coaches had private squads and the amateur clubs organized galas, under the auspices of the provincial governing bodies, who in turn were part of SAASU

Private and state schools have always contributed to the provincial schools teams for the annual national inter-schools championships. Each province has an inter-schools gala, from where teams are selected annually. In recent years schools swimming has been managed by Swim SA, and a national schools championship for ages 11-17 is held annually, which includes events for disabled swimmers. Click here to see the 2015 event program.

Our northern neighbours in Rhodesia also had a very active schools swimming scene, with teams competing in South Africa, and schools regularly touring there as well. Follow the link to see some of the many school teams and pools from Rhodesia - some still exist and thrive today. At times a national inter-provincial schools championships was held - at both Primary School and High School level. 

There is no record of contact with Portuguese Mozambique at this level.

In the past, many schools have held an annual school gala, which often included events from the provincial championships. Both Primary and High schools inter-provincial galas have been held at various times, and today a combined event is (sometimes) held. 

Various schools swimming teams have toured overseas - to England, Israel and Taiwan, with individual schools water polo teams also sending pupils to compete abroad. Most of the history related to these events are unrecorded.

South African schools swimming by Province


Transvaal Eastern Province Griqualand West
Western Transvaal Western Province South West Africa
Eastern Transvaal Border Orange Free State
Noord Transvaal Natal  


Transvaal team in the march past at SA Primary Schools swimming championships in Bloemfontein 1975.

South African Primary Schools Swimming Championships

1967  - Pretoria

1968 - Kimberley

1970 Bloemfontein

1971 - Bloemfontein

1972 - Bloemfontein

1973 - Bloemfontein

1974 - Bloemfontein

South African High Schools Swimming Championships

1965 - Kimberley 

1972 - Johannesburg

1974 - Kimberley

1975 - Durban 

1976 - Cape Town

1977 - Boksburg

1982 - Durban


South African schools water polo tournament

1980 - SA Schools water polo - Cape Town

Articles on some South African swimming schools:

Eunice GHS - Bloemfontein

King Edward VII KES - Johannesburg

Grey High - Port Elizabeth

SA Senior schools - 1975



The Gauteng Schools became the undisputed winners of the 2017 National SA Schools Swimming Championships

Polokwane, Thursday, 13th April 2017  – The Gauteng Province Schools were the undisputed winners of the 2017 National SA Schools Swimming Championships with a total of 154 medals (74 gold, 48 silver and 32 bronze), as the competition successfully concluded today at the Polokwane Swimming Pool in Limpopo.

The event, which was organized by Sport and Recreation South Africa, in partnership with the Department of Basic Education, Swimming South Africa and National Schools Aquatics, has seen four days of fast times and great potential from both schools and swimming clubs.

The first race of the afternoon was the 400m freestyle, which saw the men’s gold medals going to KZN’s Leshen Pillay (13) in 4:58.43 and Gauteng’s Janco Rademeyer (17) in 4:26.62, while the winning ladies were Free State’s Chloe le Roux (13) in 4:49.75 and Mpumalanga’s Jordyn Minifie (16) in 4:44.54.

Pillay also scooped the bronze medal in the 100m butterfly in 1:11.69.

North West’s Pieter Coetze (13) was victorious on two occasions, clocking the fastest times in both the 50m backstroke and 100m butterfly in 31.17 and 1:05.40, while the remaining age group gold medals went to Gauteng’s William Roos (12),  Mpumalanga’s Giano dos Santos (15) and Limpopo’s Heinrich Strydom (17) in 33.57, 29.91 and 28.87, respectively.

The ladies’ hotly contested 50m backstroke saw some amazing swims from KZN’s Ashley Ebing (12) and Cara Message (13), Eastern Cape’s Alexia Velde (14) and Chloe Velde (16), who won their age group races in 34.88, 33.82, 32.25 and 31.71.

There were fast times in the 100m butterfly with Gauteng’s Kian Keylock (12), Western Cape’s Eugene van der Merwe (15) and Limpopo’s Ivan Beukes (17)  bagging the gold in their respective age categories in 1:11.03, 1:01.46 and 58.58, while on the ladies’ side, the first places went to KZN’s Emma Christianson (12) in 1:11.26, Free State’s Luchelle Oosthuizen (13) in 1:12.15, North West’s Idele du Toit (15) in 1:09.32 and Western Cape’s Kristen Straszacker (17) in 1:06.97.

Ending the event with three gold medals was Gauteng’s Thulane Mabuza (S10), adding the multi-disability 100m backstroke to his tally in 1:19.22, while Mpumalanga’s Naysi Strauss (S14) won her respective race in 2:00.75.

In the 50m multi-disability freestyle, the gold was claimed by Western Cape’s Adin Pieters (S15) in 30.50, with the ladies’ first places going to Mpumalanga’s Gene Prinsloo (S14) in 51.46 and Gauteng’s Bongekile Sabeka (S10) in 37.99.

Final Medal Table:

Position Province Gold Silver Bronze Total
1 Gauteng Schools 74 48 32 154
2. KZN Aquatics 38 36 35 109
3. Mpumalanga 12 14 16 42
4. Free State Schools 12 14 13 39
5. Eastern Cape Aquatics 9 8 9 26
6. Limpopo Schools 7 13 14 34
7. Western Cape Schools Association 6 13 21 40
8. North West Swimming 5 4 3 12


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