Rhodesia ASA

The full aquatic sports history of Rhodesia is beyond the scope of this site, which is focused on South African aquatic sports.

Rhodesia - or Southern Rhodesia, as the British insisted on calling it - once included the areas now known as Zambia and Malawi, in what was the Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland. Some Rhodesian competitors travelled some 3500 km's from Kitwe in northern Rhodesia to Cape Town to swim at nationals. It participated in South Africa as a sporting province, and occasionally as a foreign country.

Aquatic sports in Rhodesia was initially organised in Salisbury when the Mashonaland ASA was created in 1915, and two months later it joined the South African Amateur Swimming Union (SAASU). A team competed at the SA championships in 1920, where Jackie Brown of Rhodesia won the 100 yards freestyle Championship, and the 1922 South African Championships were held in Salisbury. 

 The Rhodesian climate helped to created the environment that developed its most famous swimmer - Kirsty Coventry - who was born three years after the creation of Zimbabwe in 1980. Before Kirsty Coventry made the country famous in swimming circles, Natalie Steward (although born in South Africa) swam for Rhodesia in the 1958 Empire Games, and won a silver medal at the 1960 Rome Olympic Games - for Great Britain. Dennis Pearson successfully crossed the English Channel from France to England in 1959, and former Capetonian Marylin Sidelsky competed in the 1964 Tokyo Olympics.

John Keyter  beat world ranked South African Vernon Slovin in the 100m and 200m butterfly at Newlands in 1969. In August 1972 the Rhodesian ASA sent a team to the Munich Olympic Games. On the 22nd August 1972 - 4 days before the event was due to start, the IOC voted to withdraw their invitation - by a vote of 36 for and 31 against, and three abstentions. Although they were allowed to stay and watch!  Click here to read more about the international sports boycott against South Africa and Rhodesia.

Swimmers and divers from Zimbabwe continue to take up scholarships at American universitires. 

Click HERE to see Rhodesian pools on the map

Follow this link to Rhodesian schools. 


The capital Salisbury was situated in Mashonaland. The area had (and still has) a number of schools with swimming pools, and there were numerous municipal and corporate/mine swimming facilities. Today most of those pools are dead pools.


Bulawayo is the second city, and is is home to the Borrow street municipal swimming pool.


The capital of the south eastern Province of Victoria was Fort Victoria.


Umtali was on the border with Mozambique. The main road to Beira and the coast passed through it.


Gwelo was a town in the heart of the country. 

Northern Rhodesia

The mining towns of Kitwe, Ndola and others were often on the itenerery of visiting teams to Rhodesia. 


The area was a part of Rhodesia for ten years, from 1953.