King Edward VII in Johannesburg has a long tradition of sporting achievement, producing many Springbok swimmers and water polo players. The schools has a close association with its Old Boys through the Old Eds Club, which has hosted the annual National Water Polo Tournament since 1974.
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Water Polo at King Edward VII School started as an off shoot of the Old Edwardian Society Swimming and Waterpolo Club. This Old Boys Club had been formed in 1935 and for many years used the school pool as their headquarters and always entered a junior team in the Johannesburg leagues made up entirely of boys from the School. These boys who played in the Old Eds junior teams used to organise games after school galas, much to the consternation of the swimming masters of the time, as "it spoiled their swimming styles". Springboks such as Leon Nahon, Gary Bonney, Robbie Schwartz, Mike Renwick and Jake Kneebone learned their waterpolo while at school but playing for the Old Boys.
Over the years Dave Adams, Derek Kneebone, Mike Renwick and Peter Sandstrom have performed heroics but never forget Olympians Leon Nahon and Rob Schwartz, the latter who also has the remarkable distinction of also representing South Africa at flying and aerobatics. Brian Zeederberg is also renowned in flying circles.
In swimming our greats have dominated pools at home and abroad. The names of Dennis Ford, Murray McLachlan, Tony Briscoe, Ivan Schlapobersky, Dean Price, Gary Bonney, Rodney Glatt, John Thorburn and Roy Abramowitz are legendary. A very notable achievement was Billy Steuart who represented South Africa at the Empire Games in 1954 whilst still in Standard VIII.
In 1920, plans were prepared for the construction of a swimming bath in the school grounds, a borehole was sunk and the completed scheme was to form part of the School War memorial. Various difficulties arose and our War Memorial took another form. Seven years later the project was once again proposed and plans drawn up and a committee set up to raise funds as the school couldn’t look to the Government for any financial assistance as their policy regarded such things as Swimming Baths as outside the functions of the Government. The appeal for funds proved disappointing and the committee decided to abandon the principle of voluntary contribution and to establish a system of annual subscriptions and the bath to be open to subscribers only. The response to this was so good that the committee had no hesitation in proceeding with the scheme. Work on the pool began on 26 September 1927 and completed at a cost of £5 500.
On the 8 February 1928, the swimming pool was opened for use but due to some initial difficulties, the pool had to be closed before the end of term. The formal opening of the Swimming Pool was for various cogent reasons postponed. The Swimming Pool was finally opened officially by Sir William Dairymple at The First Annual Swimming Gala held on 1st December 1928 at 3:30pm.
There had been no mention of the Inter-High School Competition until 1930. This event was held at Ellis Park on 8 March 1930 and it is with pride that we note that we won the competition on this occasion with 22 points.
Swimming is a popular activity amongst the boys at King Edward VII School. In an endeavor to keep pace with growing demands, facilities are regularly upgraded and improved to ensure that the school continues to be competitive in this field.
King Edward VII School has a fully equipped 25m X 25m heated pool with an additional 25m training pool.
Great spirit and camaraderie is witnessed amongst the learners during our Annual Inter-House Swimming Gala held during school hours every January. Great friendships are made and cemented between everyone around the poolside.
The School’s Championships is traditionally held in the evening during February each year. The swimmers endeavor to break school records. Congratulations to J Stigant who set a new record in the U15 50m Breaststroke when he swum the event in a time of 33.53 seconds this year. This particular record had been held by Garth Tune since 2004.
Swimmers also compete for a number of trophies that have been donated over the years at the School Swimming Championships.
There are two main annual Swimming Events. The Inter-High Swimming Gala which takes place in Johannesburg between predominantly Johannesburg Schools and The Alan Burt Ten Schools’ Gala in which five Johannesburg Schools and five schools from Natal compete. Every alternate year, our swimmers tour to Durban to take part in The Ten Schools’ Gala and it is on these occasions that they also participate in the Midmar Mile.