South African Amateur Swimming Association - SAASU


The history of aquatic sports in South Africa dates from the time of colonial rule in the Cape and Natal. Despite the start of the Boer War on 11 October, on the 20th October 1899 a group of amateur English gentlemen from Port Elizabeth and Cape Town met to set up the South African Amateur Swimming Union (SAASU).  This organization was to manage competitive swimming, water polo and lifesaving  in South Africa until 1991, in accordance with the Laws of the British Amateur Swimming Association (ASA), and were recognized by that body , and whose lead they followed in joining the international swimming body FINA, in 1910.

Godbold

A.B. Godbold - SAASU President 1901 - 1902


Click here to read the very first Minute Book of the SAASU from 1899 - 1912.

The first provincial bodies to join SAASU were the Eastern Province Amateur Swimming Association and Western Province ASA. These provinces competed in the first Currie cup inter-provincial water polo tournament which was held in Port Elizabeth during January 1900, together with the first national championship swimming event - 100 yards freestyle. Western Province won the polo, and R. Marais of WPASA won the 100 yards freestyle. Cheers was raised for the generosity of Sir Donald Currie, who had donated another "Currie Cup" to the water polo tournament, and in 2013 the Currie Cup was won by the OJ Eagles formerly known as Transvaal and now as Central Gauteng Aquatics.

By 1912 nationals had grown to include entries from Natal, Transvaal and Orange Freestate, and the members had even agreed to institute a ladies event - which eventually happened in 1922! Besides the water polo, there were also Championship events over 100, 220 and 500 yards (for men) Following the British model, SAASU headquarters changed provinces every year, and a new local president was elected. A number of dedicated people also received the Meritorious Service Award.

The provinces of South African sport were mostly abolished in the aftermath of 1994, with some - like Western Province - retaining their identity, but others, like Transvaal and Northern Transvaal have disappeared completely. The 2012 Currie Cup was won by a team called the OJ Eagles - which seems to be a team of St Johns old boys, competing on behalf of Central Gauteng Aquatics. The annual inter-provincial championships were held alternately at sea-level in inland venues.

Click here to see a map of some swimming venues throughout South Africa, and follow this link to see the results of each year from 1900 - 2000.

Much of the detail has been lost over time, although the press did usually provide results. The research for this website has involved spending hundreds of hours collecting and processing these press reports for publication. Most of the history of SAASU was lost when it was dissolved in 1991, although some documents have been located - like the first Minute Book.

SAASU PRESIDENTS
 
Year: Headquarters: Name:
1900- 1901 Port Elizabeth William Fiddian-Green
1901 - 1902 Cape Town A.B. Godbold
1902- 1903 Port Elizabeth A.J. Lewis
1903- 1904 Cape Town J.C. Garden
1904 - 1905 Port Elizabeth H. Stent
1905 - 1906 Pretoria Lt. R.H. Watson
1906- 1907 Durban J. Ellis Brown
1907 - 1908 Port Elizabeth C.J. Bruce
1908 - 1909 Cape Town C.J. Bruce and G. Marais
1909- 1910 Johannesburg G.W.W. Pope
1910- 1911 Durban J. Ellis Brown
1911 - 1912 Port Elizabeth C.L. Searle
1912 - 1913 Cape Town S.G. Serrurier
1913- 1914 Johannesburg S.C. Dowsett
1914 - 1918 Durban J. Ellis Brown
1918 - 1920 Durban W.H. Hamilton
1920 - 1921 Port Elizabeth W.F. Savage
1921 - 1922 Salisbury C.D. Clear
1922- 1923 Cape Town Dr C. Impey
1923 - 1924 Johannesburg F.W. Sarginson
1924 - 1925 Durban Gilbert Reynolds
1925 - 1926 Port Elizabeth W. Rice
1926- 1934 Port Elizabeth J. McLean
1934- 1940 Durban Gilbert Reynolds
1940 - 1944 Johannesburg C.E. Harris
1944 - 1945 Johannesburg Rufe Smith  
1945 - 1949 Johannesburg C.E.Harris 
1949 - 1954 Cape Town P. Herbstein
1954- 1959 Johannesburg A.R. Taylor 
1959 - 1967 Durban N.C. Grade
1967- 1969 Cape Town Harry Getz
1969 - 1976 Cape Town Roy Glegg
1976 - 1992 Boksburg Issy Kramer
MERITORIOUS SERVICE AWARDS
   
William FIDDIAN-GREEN 1960 - R.FOSTER
W.A.COPELAND Lou SAVAGE
Gilbert REYNOLDS F. LEEMANS
S.C. DOWSETT B.OXFORD 
W. RICE J.KIPLING
J. McLEAN R. PANNALL
R. WARD  
G.E. GODFREY 1961 -  L. BUNING
C. NELSON  
Max THIEL 1962 -  G.GLENCROSS
J. BOSANQUET N. SULLIVAN
Rufe SMITH H.F.W. BASFORD
H.C. VARLEY  
Alex BULLEY (1935) 1964  - Neville GRACIE
Rachael FINLAYSON  (MRS) C.B. BRADLEY
C.E. HARRIS (1947) AJ. McLACHLAN
E.O. WEGNER (1947) Vic MYBURGH
A.R. TAYLOR (1947) H. HAMMOND
P. HERBSTEIN (1947)  
J.J. GLENDINN1NG (1947) 1967 - E.M. Doods BULLEY (MRS)
A.V. NUNN Issy KRAMER
Harry GETZ (1947) A.E. LIEVESLEY
D. NATHAN E.J. ALLEN
S.COLLINS (1947)  
S.T. COCKHEAD (1955) 1968  - F.J.HARD1NG
I. LAZAROW (1957)  
G. INGE (1957) 1970  - N.H. LIEVESLEY (MRS)
H.B. BLAKE D. GLEGG (MRS)
G.H. V.D. BERG (1957) R.W. GRANT-STUART
H. RAKIN P.S.B. KRIGE
E.C. MORETON  
R. HONIKMANN 1971  - T.F.W. BASSETT
Roy GLEGG J.A.R. SMIT
M. HACK Jack CURRIE
E.B. SHEPHERD J.A. COULL
H.H. FOWLER  
S.G. HOLMES (1947) (probably incomplete)
F.C.CLAMPETT (1947)  

The history of SAASU was largely the story of the competing provinces. The competitors, officials, coaches, facilities, clubs, schools, competitions all identifieds with their province. At nationals they vied to win the Ellis Brown Aggregate Trophy, which was awarded to the province with the overall highest number of points in all four disciplines combined. Rhodesia dominated South African aquatics during the 60's, winning the Ellis Brown Trophy 7 years in a row!

 

1946 - 1972 winners of the Ellis Brown Trophy

1946 Transvaal
1947 Transvaal
1948 Transvaal
1949 Transvaal
1950 Transvaal
1951 Natal
1952 Transvaal
1953 Transvaal
1954 Transvaal
1955 Transvaal
1956 Transvaal
1957 Transvaal
1958 Eastern Transvaal
1959 Transvaal
1960 Rhodesia
1961 Rhodesia
1962 Rhodesia
1963 Rhodesia
1964 Rhodesia
1965 Rhodesia
1966 Rhodesia
1967 Northern Transvaal
1968 Northern Transvaal
1969 Transvaal
1970 Northern Transvaal
1971 Northern Transvaal
1972 Transvaal

  later results to be located

SAASU oldies 0011

President Roy Clegg with SAASU Executive Committee


Getz Harry 01 1967

Despite the ban on participation, SAASU President Harry Getz was the FINA elected Chief Swimming Officer at both the 1964 Tokyo and 1968 Mexico Olympic Games.


 Kramer11

The last SAASU President Issy Kramer


1975 PM John Vorster with Letchen SHaron and Pietie and Roy Clegg

President John Vorster and SAASU president Roy Clegg at a Test match - meeting Springboks Letchen Walden, Sharon Poole and Pietie Horn


 SAASU 1989

South African Amateur Swimming Union members - 1989