Durban, a coastal city in eastern South Africa’s KwaZulu-Natal province, hosts a number of open water swimming competitions.
Because of its seafront orientation, we had hoped that open water swimming would have been added to the 2022 Commonwealth Games.
But after Durban was awarded the Commonwealth Games in 2015 as the first African city to host the event, the event will be hosted elsewhere.
The Commonwealth Games first started in 1930 and are held every four years, featuring competitions among athletes from more than 50 countries, mostly former British colonies.
“One unique point of the Games is that it is one of the very few international sporting competitions that does not include an open water swimming event,” observed Steven Munatones.
“The Olympic Games has an open water swimming event. The Special Olympics World Summer Games has an open water swimming event. The World University Games has open water swimming events. The European Swimming Championships and Pan American Games both have open water swimming events. The Southeast Asian Games have open water swimming events. The Pan Pacific Swimming Championships, the Asian Beach Games, the South American Beach Games, the Polar Olympics, and many other international athletic competitions have open water swimming events.”
Triathlon events are also held at these international competitions, often with the swimming leg of the triathlon held in the same venue as the open water swimming races. But no open water swimming at the Commonwealth Games.
“The omission seems out-of-place given the fact that open water swimming has such a rich history in countries like England, Australia, Canada and South Africa and the recent emergence of the sport in many countries from Ireland and Singapore to Hong Kong and New Zealand.
The open water swimming competitions do not incur significant or additional costs: a few buoys, some escort boats, a start and finish pontoon, and much of the exact same equipment used in the triathlon competition. The local swimming communities know how to organize a world-class race; the local fans appreciate swimming competitions. Open water events would help to showcase the natural beauty of the host nations.
It would seem that open water swimming is an easily organized addition to the Commonwealth Games.”
Map above shows the participating Commonwealth Games nations and locations of host cities.
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