Located at the foot of the escarpment mountains, Nelspruit is a wealthy town established in 1895 along the road and railway between the Transvaal and Mozambique. Gold was discovered in the area, and later it became the centre of the game reserve tourism industry around the Kruger Park and numerous other reserves. Witrivier (or White River) was established in 1904 for Boer War veterans, located some 20km north of Nelspruit, has almost become merged with Nelspruit.

Unlike the highveld part of the province to the west, the climate here is mild and generally warm and temperate. The relative abundance of water also means that most swimming pools in the area have survived the post-1994 destruction of state-run facilities that have occurred elsewhere in the country. The only two dead pools in Nelspruit are at the university and the hospital. 

Although located some distance from the main centres of Johannesburg and Pretoria, swimming is a popular and successful sport in the area. There are several clubs, and both state and private schools with their own pools. Local schoolboy Jacobus Terblanche of the Tiger Guppie club won three medals - including gold in the 100m breaststroke - at the 2019 South African Schools championships. In July 2019 a total of 21 local club and school teams competed in the Mpumalanga Short Course Championships held at Curro Nelspruit.

Besides swimming, most local schools also compete in biathle, including Laerskool Nelspruit, Curro Nelspruit, Hoërskool Nelspruit, Penryn Preparatory, Uplands Preparatory, Hoërskool Bergvlam, Laerskool Laeveld, Nelspruit Primary, Laerskool Bergland, Hoërskool Rob Ferreira, Laerskool Witrivier and White River Primary.

Nelspruit Schools

Nelspruit boasts five state schools and two new private schools, all with functioning swimming pools. The local Curro Academy (below) opened in 2020.

Nelspruit Municipal Swimming Pools

The van Riebeeck pool in Nelspruit is often used for training and galas.  There are also pools at Valencia Park and Nelsville also, but no information is available about them.

Open Water Swimming

The Longmere Dam has been used as a venue for a South African Open Water Grand Prix series event, as well as the Ehlanzeni Triathlon and the Mopani Lowveld Triathlon & Duathlon.