The full aquatic sports history of Rhodesia is beyond the scope of this site, which is focused on South African aquatic sports.
Rhodesia once included the areas now known as Zambia and Malawi, in what was the Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland, between 1953 - 1964. 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, when the Rhodesian team competed against the Springboks, which occured between 1969 and 1980.
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.
Walter Hart wrote: This was the last Rhodesian Waterpolo team to play a Test match against the Springboks. It was at the Rachel Finlayson pool in Durban in April 1980. We lost both Tests - 6-2 and 14-1. Notice that although we were already "Zimbabwe" (by a few days) in this pic taken in Bulawayo we are all wearing Rhodesian blazers and there is a Rhodesian flag proudly displayed. It was a bold move by the swimming and waterpolo authorities. Roy Norris in centre standing later went on to play goal keeper and then centre forward for the Springboks
RHODESIAN SWIMMING TEAM 1950/ 1960 ️
Maureen Haylock, D. Sutcliffe (ex Evelyn GHS) Yvonne & Linda DeBeer -
Bulawayo coach Jimmy Finch - son Roger
1960 to 1965.
Sandy Morgenrood-diving - dived in the olympics
Terry Rossiter -diving
John Williams-long distance
John Keyter : 100 & 200mts butterfly.
Natalie Steward : World backstroke record
The Chick twins Sonia and Sandra - Mabelreign Girls High
and Lena Pretorius diving.
Len and Jimmy Greenwood both also trained at Les Brown in Salisbury - 1950s
Tony Fisher - Bulawayo
1972 Munich Olympic Team.
Rod Hamilton : 50 meter Individual medley – Rhodesian and South African record. 100 mtr butterfly - Rhodesian & South African champion.
Bob Hatherley : 100 & 200 mts breastroke. Rhodesian and South African record holder in both events. (Bulawayo)
Ken Borain :100 mts freestyle - Rhodesian and South African record
Andrew Young : Swimming – freestyle – Rhodesia .
Kim Brandt : Swimming – backstroke Rhodesia️