Aquatic sports history at school level is mostly about swimming, with some diving, while water polo being played at club level.
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. Today swimming, and also water polo, are popular summer school sports, with many schools boasting their own swimming pools and competing in inter-schools competitions.
In swimming there has never been a big distinction between private and state schools, with each province selecting a team for the annual national inter-schools championships. The annual Transvaal inter-high schools gala at Ellis Park was always a very noisy and exciting affair! 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|
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
1971 - Bloemfontein
1972 - Bloemfontein
1973 - Bloemfontein
South African High Schools Swimming Championships
1974 - Kimberley
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