In the post war era swimming became a major sport in South Africa. Many pools were built by towns, schools and clubs. In 1952 Joan Harrison of East London won a gold medal at the Melbourne Olympic Games and the number of provinces, competitors and events at the annual South African swimming and diving championship grew during this era.Synchronised swimming was added as a sport in 1968. Life saving continued to be practised both in still water and surf, with surf lifesaving hosting the first world championships in Durban and Port Elizabeth in 1974.
Despite the sports boycott and the exodus of national champions to American universities, South African - and Rhodesian - aquatics continued to enjoy great popularity and success. In the the 1960's the best backstrokers in the world were two South African school girls - Karen Muir and Ann Fairlie. Despite not being allowed to compete at the Olympic Games, the Olympic medal winners came to South Africa to compete against the local girls - and were beaten. Jonty Skinner and Peter Williams also set new world records while at university in the USA.
Rhodesia left SAASU in 1980 after the creation of Zimbabwe, and in 1992 the national governing body SAASU was disbanded, to accommodate the demands of the new ANC government, and swim South Africa under the leadership of ANC politicians Sam Ramsammy and Gideon Sam took over the management of aquatic sports in South Africa.