Traditionally part of the Cape Province, the swimming province of Griqualand West covered the enormous and sparsely populated area of the northern Cape. Its main centre was Kimberley, a city some 150 km's west of Bloemfontein.
Aside from its fabled diamonds, Kimberley was put on the international sporting map because of the swimmer Karen Muir.
Water polo was a regular feature of the swimming galas which took place at the Kenilworth pool in those times. I would have been about seven years old at that stage but I can still see in the now rheumy recesses of my mind's eye these swimmers in action - several as out-and -out competitive swimmers,
Strange as it may seem but that seven-year-old little Ball lad would years later play rugby with Ian Kirkpatrick (he at the very end of his playing days when along with his brother-in-law and also fellow Springbok Dick Lockyear he would fool around at practice with the Crusaders' seconds.
I was a 19-year-old just out of school and was awed to play alongside these two greats. (Also in Crusaders' Seconds were the two Harding brothers Cecil and Reg and they took me under their protective wings I'm the heat of big men's rugby.
I also played water polo with Hubby Rodwell at the them Queen's Park swimming pool, later to be renamed Karen Muir. Other names that I recall among the swimmers in the photo are Dagga Rodgers, Mike Collopy and Neville Sullivan. But the two big stars were Bruce Gates and Graham (could be Gerald?)Croft who would vie for supremacy for the Oppenheimer Trophy
The two Emslie girls delighted the crowds -- and turned the heads of a a good many males, while Rhona Kirkpatrick would later win Springbok hockey colours -- and also the heart of Dick Lockyear whom she married. (Dare I repeat a little bit of the "skinder" of the time?) As I recall tongues wagged when Mike Collopy's wife ran off with teacher Doc Snyman. Skande.
But that was more than 50 years ago.