Swimming SA responds to Kings Park Pool closure, confirms PE will host SA Swimming Champs

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General views of the SA National Aquatic Championships at Kings Park Swimming Pool
General views of the SA National Aquatic Championships at Kings Park Swimming Pool
Steve Haag/Gallo Images
  • Swimming South Africa told Sport24 that they have not received any timeline or deadline for the reopening of Kings Park Pool in Durban.
  • The Kings Park Pool has been temporarily closed since the lockdown with Olympic stars unable to prepare for this year's Tokyo Games.
  • Swimming SA confirmed that Port Elizabeth will host this year's SA Senior Swimming Championships with strict coronavirus protocols.

Swimming South Africa (SSA) has responded to the outrage over Kings Park National Pool's closure stating that they have not received any timeline or deadline for the potential reopening.

The Kings Park Pool has been temporarily closed as they are currently repairing a leaking roof, defective heaters and lighting.

South Africa's Olympic stars Chad le Clos and Henri Schoeman told Sport24 that they were unable to train properly for July's Tokyo Olympics since lockdown.

Swimming SA CEO Shaun Adriaanse told Sport24 on Friday that the Kings Park Pool is property of the eThekwini Municipality, therefore "the maintenance or renovation is their mandate as facility owner".

"SSA doesn't have the mandate to do renovations/maintenance and SSA also doesn't have funding to attend to renovation/maintenance of facilities," said Adriaanse.

The Kings Park Pool closed down following the nationwide lockdown and has since not reopened. SSA admitted that they have not received any timeline for the completion of the renovations/maintenance from the eThekwini Local Municipality.

"KZN Aquatics has been liaising with the eThekwini Local Municipality in this regard, but to date, no definitive commitment from the municipality has been forthcoming in this regard," said Adriaanse.

"It should be noted that the Covid-19 pandemic placed severe strain on municipal resources and it is understandable if municipal budgetary constraints at this point in time do not justify expenditure on the renovation/maintenance of Kings Park Swimming Pool."

South Africa imposed one of the strictest lockdown measures to curb the spread of the virus. It meant the closure of gyms and swimming pools across the country.

SSA stated that have been working hard to ensure and manage the reopening of those facilities.

"SSA has been engaging with various stakeholders throughout the various Covid-19 lockdown levels to expedite and manage the reopening of training facilities all over SA. SSA has been very successful in this regard and facilitated the opening of training facilities ahead of most sporting codes."

Swimming SA confirmed that this April's SA Senior Swimming Championship will take place at Newton Park in Port Elizabeth.

The SA Championships is an Olympic trial event with various swimmers hoping to qualify for this year's Tokyo Olympics. 

Adriaanse insists that the relocation to Port Elizabeth was in the best interest of the swimmers.

"The SSA High-Performance Committee anticipated a possible need to relocate SA Senior National Swimming Championships due to the unresolved maintenance issues at Kings Park Swimming Pool. As a result of the aforementioned, various meetings were held to explore all available alternatives and to commit to a deadline for a final decision on the availability of King Park Swimming Pool," he said.

"From a high-performance point of view, the best interest of the swimmer remained the primary objective. Swimmers and coaches need commitment and/or confirmation regarding arrangements leading up to a national competition, especially a Olympic trial event to ensure proper preparation.

"Swimmers and coaches also need assurance of proper facilities in proper working condition to give every competitor the best possible opportunity to perform. In this regard, a decision had to be taken to relocate the SA Senior National Swimming Championships to Port Elizabeth."

The SA Swimming Championships, which is scheduled to get underway from 4-9 April, will comply with strict coronavirus protocols in Port Elizabeth.

"SSA has a national Covid-19 Officer, who works tirelessly with all provincial Covid-19 Officers to ensure strict adherence to Covid-19 protocols at all times and at all training or competition venues," said Adriaanse.

"The SA Senior National Swimming Championships will be no different and only the correct number of people will be allowed inside the venue at any given time, subject to all the Covid-19 safety protocols being adhered to."

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