The first aquatic sports clubs were formed during the late 1800's in Cape Town and Port Elizabeth, as well as the Natal towns of Durban and Pietermaritzburg. The British loved their sports clubs, and set them up everywhere in their colonies. The members were initially only men, and main focus ewas on water polo. Swimming, diving and life saving competitons were also included at the provincial and national championships, and intially the clubs like Gordons SC in Cape Town and Queen's Park SC in Durban catered for all disciplines. Later swimming clubs changed to focus on swimming only.
Clubs were also formed at Mossel Bay, East London, Johannesburg, Pretoria and Bloemfontein in the Orange River Colony.