World Records

South Africans have set numerous swimming world records.

Springbok water polo badge


Colours were awarded to all South Africans who competed in international sports events. 

Karen Muir

The biggest star in South African aquatic sports history.

Tourists to South Africa

Australian world champion Ernest Cavill toured the Cape in 1898.


Various magazines, books, and pamphlets have recorded the aquatic sports of South Africa.


Numerous South African swimmers, and coaches left to compete overseas - many never returned.


Many people have contributed their personal collections, including Dutch champion Ada Kok.


Professor Finney, Jimmy Green, Rachael Finlayson, and Alex Bulley were some of the early swimming coaches in South Africa.

SAASU and the Provinces

The Union of all the sporting provinces governed aquatic sports in South Africa from 1899 and became a member of FINA in 1909.

South African Universities

South African Universities' (SAU) aquatic sports held their first inter-varsity tournament in 1929.

In Memoriam

Athletes like Muriel Ensore-Smith, who died young. Many remain forgotten.

Portuguese Mozambique

Neighbouring Mozambique had an active sporting culture, including swimming, diving, and sailing.


An entire generation of South African athletes missed out on international competition between 1961 - 1991.


A number of books and articles have been written about aquatic sports history in South Africa and Rhodesia

Non-white swimming

Aquatic sports history from the Coloured, Black, and Asian communities of South Africa, as reported in the press.


A small number of biographies were published in 1949 and 1973.