Aquabear Swimming Club

The club was started by coach Brian Elliot in the early 1970's. It has hosted the annual Aquabear Gala since 1975.

For top local open water swimmer Pearson High School’s Ian Venter, it was back to winning ways at Sunday’s start to the Nelson Mandela Bay Aquatics’ EC Swim Series hosted at Marina Martinique and the rising of another potential open water star in Credence Pattinson, both from the Aquabear swim club in Port Elizabeth.

12 March 2021 - Greensboro, N.C.—It was another eventful Friday in the Toyota U.S. Open as three swimmers from the University of Hawai'i swim team competed at the Greensboro Aquatic Center.
For the first time in the event, senior Ian Venter showcased his skills on the national platform in the 100 back. He placed eighth in the prelims with a time of  56.32, putting him in the A Final. While he didn't improve his time in the championship heat, he moved up by placing seventh overall, touching the wall at 56.48.

Christopher Reid

He had his first appearance on the international stage at the 2013 World Junior Championships in Dubai, where he won a bronze medal in the 4 × 100 mixed relay as a member of the South African relay. A year later, he also participated in the Youth Olympic Games in Nanjing, China, where his best individual result was fifth place in the finals of the 200 backstroke race.

Christopher won the River Mile in 2013 and 2014.

After matriculating at Grey High School, at the end of 2014 he joined the University of Alabama under the guidance of former South African swimmer and freestyle world record holder Jonty Skinner.

2016 - At the SA Olympic trials in April Aquabear swimmer Christopher Reid won the 100m backstroke in s new South African record at Kings Park. Reid’s time ranks him fifth in the world going well below the previous record of 53.75 seconds Zandberg set at the Beijing Games in 2008.

At the 2019 South African National Championships, he had a breakout performance in his long course 200 back, qualifying for the 2019 FINA World Championships in the event. After going a then-best time of 1:58.28 at the 2018 US National Championships in December, he went 1:57.11 in April, winning the events by over two seconds. He also won the 100 back in 54.23, just ahead of rising Alabama senior Zane Waddell.

At the 2019 World Championships in Gwangju, Korea, which was his first appearance at the World Championships in his career. In Gwangju, Reed swam in two singles - 100 backstroke (19th place) and 200 backstroke (20) - and three relay races - 4 × 100 mixed (23), 4 × 100 mixed (15), and 4 × 100 free mixed (17th place).

2020 - Port Elizabeth's US-based backstroke specialist Christopher Reid has been retained by the New York Breakers for the 2020/21 International Swim League, the franchise announced on Wednesday. 

Grahamstown swimmers bring back the gold

9 October 2012

An impressive squad of Grahamstown swimmers came back laden with medals from the annual Aquabear Swim Club gala in Port Elizabeth this past weekend.

The gala had its highest attendance numbers to date with over 570 swimmers flocking to the Bay. Besides claiming scores of medals, the group of 27 local swimmers saw a provincial relay record broken and one Kingswood pupil was named the overall women's winner.

But DSG swimming coach Sheena Price, who coaches most of the swimmers, said that the experience they gain is just as important as coming home with accolades. It's important for the swimmers to win but I put emphasis on personal achievements and goals - not only on the colour of your medal, Price said.

She reported that in the 11- and 12-year age group three local swimmers Caydn Barker (Diocesan School for Girls), Tilabo Williamson (DSG) and Brendan Gouws (Graeme) qualified for Level 2. The coach said that a promising talent to keep an eye on in the next few years is 14-year-old John Maree who made a few finals and won a medal in the 50m Backstroke last weekend.

John was also instrumental in Aquabear winning a silver and gold in the relays. In the Open men's and women's events, Grahamstown swimmers dominated the competition with Kingswood pupil Tamlyn Price being named the women's overall winner and Rhodes University student Simon Pheasant finishing second in the men's division.

Tamlyn also set a new Eastern Province record in the Open 50m Backstroke and bagged an astounding nine medals of which four were gold. Pheasant also had his fair share of medals, coming home with four gold and two silvers.

Robyn Charter of DSG won two silver medals and Erin Graham, also DSG, collected four bronze medals in the individual events. Adding to Aquabear's scores was the women's 200m Freestyle relay team consisting of Tamlyn Price, Erin Graham, Jess White (DSG) and Michaela Barnes (PE), who scraped off four split-seconds to set a new EP record.

The men's 200m Freestyle relay team doubled up the winnings with another podium gold. Simon Pheasant and St Andrew's College pupil Brynn Williams were on the team. “It's a fair statement to say it's going swimmingly in Grahamstown with 27 swimmers who participated over the weekend,” Price said.

Girls from Collegiate High School 

Aquabear is proud to have the current SA NAG Open champion, SA 16-18 Champion, SA 13-15 runner-up and SA NAG 2010 10&U champion. Aquabear finished 3rd at NAG in 2011 and won the SA Level 2 Championships in 2012. At Level 2 Aquabear won three of the five age groups. With NAG taking place in Port Elizabeth in December 2012 Aquabear is going all out to become the top club.

Coach: Moira Norden

Moira competed at synchronized swimming for EPA for several years and started coaching with Mrs Dot Schoombee in the 1970’s while competing. Moira has coached both the SA senior and junior teams at an international level. Moira is a qualified FINA G judge and judged at the last two Commonwealth Games in Melbourne and Delhi. She is currently the convener of SA synchronized swimming technical committee. Several of her swimmers have represented South Africa over the years. The swimmers who are still competing include:

Kerry Norden who has represented SA on many occasions and swam at the FINA World Aquatics Championships in Shanghai in 2011. She won gold at the SA Nationals in 2011 and 2012 for figures and was runner-up in the SA solos in 2012. She won gold at the SA National Age Groups 2011 for figures and solo.

Courtney Musson who competed in the 2010 SA 13-15 team and is currently the SA 16-18 champion and short listed to compete at Junior Worlds in 2012.

Mieke Struwig who competed in the SA 13-15 team in 2011 and was runner-up in this age group at NAG 2011.