Traditional Swimming has been in existence in riverine communities all over Nigeria even before Nigeria became the country that it is today. People living in various fishing communities learnt how to swim for survival purposes to prevent them from drowning whenever they went out in their boats to fish.  Swimming activities were also often part of various traditional festivals in many parts of the country.

According to the records, the first known competitive Swimming event in a swimming pool was held in Lagos in 1938 at the King George V swimming pool, Lagos Island. That pool was built by the late Dr J.K. Randle to provide a safe place for the youth of Lagos Island to swim because of the frequent incidents of drowning in the Lagos lagoon and beaches.

Among the prominent citizens who championed the development and organization of the sport of Swimming in those early days in Lagos were late Dr Nnamdi Azikiwe, late Dr J.K. Randle, late Kofi Duncan, late Dr Omololu & the late Dr M.O.Alakija (Eja Nla).

In 1958, the National Sports Council formed the first National Swimming Association (the Amateur Swimming Association of Nigeria – ASAN) with Mr E. J. Moses as the founding Chairman.

That same year, Nigeria which was still a British colony at the time sent a team of two swimmers (late Messrs Job Ofongo and Horace Kantu) to the British Commonwealth & Empire Games in Cardiff, Wales.

The need to improve the techniques and develop competitive swimming led to the employment in 1963 of the first professional full – time Swimming Coach for Nigeria through an agreement between the National Sports Council and the British Council. The arrival of this Coach, Mr A. B. R. Watts, who was based at King George V pool, Onikan & the Police Barracks pool, Obalende helped in the further development of the sport through the introduction of modern training methods for swimmers in Lagos Island and it’s environs. Two Nigerians (Mr Godfrey Offurum who was a physical training instructor with the Nigerian Army & Mr Daniel Emoghene) were assigned to assist Mr Watts with his training programme. (Mr Emoghene was later employed by the National Sports Commission as an Assistant National Coach).

The Onikan swimming pool had already been established as a training centre, and it was here that the older swimmers who first represented the country were based. Horace Kantu & Job Ofongo both trained here as did other swimmers in various swimming clubs (Nigerian Army, Leventis, Eja-Nla, Kings College, etc).Notable amongst this group were Modupe Enigbokan, Joseph Afekafe, Stephen Onyeacholam, Fred Mann, Tunde Fatayi -Williams, Funke Adebawo & Funke Zedomi. The motivator and promoter of this swimming development project which pre-dated the arrival of Mr Watts was Dr Alakija who was also the founder of Eja-Nla Swimming Club. Many of these swimmers later represented Nigeria internationally.

At the Obalende Police Barracks , the swimming programme was spearheaded by Police Commissioner Sinclair. It was initially designed to improve the fitness & swimming ability of his officers and men of the Lagos Command but he then added a developmental programme for the children of the police officers and men.This programme later produced some outstanding swimmers that went on to represent Nigeria, Christopher & Roland Adingupu, John & Bassey Ebito, Paul Okwuma and Paul Edordu to mention a few.

In 1997,  the name was changed from the Amateur Swimming Association of Nigeria (ASAN) to the Nigeria Swimming Federation (NSF) in line with changing nternational best practice. In 2013 it was again changed to the Nigeria Aquatics Federation (NAqF) to reflect the Federation’s decision to focus on several aquatic disciplines and no longer just swimming.

  • Swimmers
    In 1965, the following swimmers represented Nigeria at the 1st African Games in Brazzaville, Congo Republic :
    * Job Ofongo
    * Modupe Enigbokan
    * Joseph Afekafe
    * Christopher Adingupu
    * Paul Okwuma

    and in 1966 the following swimmers represented us at the Commonwealth Games in Kingston, Jamaica :
    * Joseph Afekafe
    * Christopher Adingupu
    * Paul Okwuma
    * Modupe Enigbokan

    In 1973, the following swimmers were members of the Nigerian swimming team at the 2nd African Games held in Lagos, Nigeria :
    *Christopher Adingupu
    * Paul Okwuma
    * Stephen Onyeacholam
    * John Ebito
    * Paul Edordu
    * Joseph Afekafe
    * Sunday Olorife
    * Funke Adebawo
    * Funke Zedomi
    * Bassey Ebito
    * Jennifer Nwokedi
    * Geraldine Mbamalu

  • National Competitions
    * Inter-State Independence Senior Swimming Championship (1985 & 1986)
    * Champion of Champions Swimming Competition, Lagos(1985)
    * NICON All Nigeria Age Group Swimming Competition, Lagos (1988)
    * All Nigeria Open Swimming Championship, Lagos(1990)
    * Vice-President’s National Age Group Swimming Championship (1991 – 1993)
    * Shell Open (Senior) Swimming Championship, Port Harcourt (1992 & 1993)

    Since the mid – 1990’s, the only two National Championships to have been held for several years were  :
    * The Rivers State Governor’s Cup Competition, Port Harcourt(1998, 2002 – 2004)
    * The CNS National Swimming Championship (2000, 2010 – 2014, 2016)

    Other National Championships held in the 2000’s included :
    * National Age Group Competition, Ilorin (2002)
    * National Age Group Competition,  Lagos (2009)
    * 1st National Swimming Classics , Ibadan (2010)
    * 2nd National Swimming Classics, Lagos (2010)
    * 1st NDDC States Secondary Schools Championship, P/Harcourt (2011)
    * Lagos International Swimming Classics, Lagos (2013)

  • International Competitions
    Over the years, Nigerian swimmers have participated in numerous International Competitions including the following  :
    * Africa Zone 2Junior Swimming Championships
    * Africa Zone 2 Senior Swimming Championships
    * African Junior Swimming Championship
    * African Senior Swimming Championships
    * FINA World Aquatics Championships
    * FINA World Swimming Championships (25m)
    * African Youth Games
    * African Games
    * Commonwealth Games
    * Olympic Games

    The following past or present members of the Federation have held
    International Board Appointments :

    * Dr Olu Asekun (late) (FINA Vice-President & CANA Vice-President)
    * Chief Olatokunbo Thomas (FINA Vice-President &  CANA Vice-President)
    * Mr Babatunde Fatayi-Williams (CANA Bureau member)

    The following persons have served in FINA & CANA Technical Committees /Commissions :

    FINA Technical Swimming Committee (TSC)
    * Chief Olatokunbo Thomas
    * Navy Capt (rtd) Olugbenga Lawal

    FINA High Diving Commission (HDC)
    * Mr Babatunde Fatayi -Williams

    CANA Technical Swimming Committee (TSC)
    * Chief Olatokunbo Thomas
    * Navy Capt.(rtd) Olugbenga Lawal

    CANA Technical Water Polo Committee (TWPC)
    * Mr Babatunde Fatayi-Williams
    * Revd. Patrick Egbele

    CANA Technical Open Water Swimming Committee (TOWSC)
    * Hon.Chamberlain Nnamdi
    * Pst. Samuel N. Jesimiel

    CANA Masters Committee
    * Dr Ibikunle Odewumi

    The following members have served as FINA Certified Officials over the years :

    Swimming – Referres/Judges
    * Chief Olatokunbo Thomas
    * Navy Capt.(rtd) Olugbenga Lawal
    * Revd. Patrick Egbele
    * Mr Martins Adeojo
    * Mr Karim Oyakhire
    * Dr Ibikunle Odewumi
    * Mr Jiddah Dakwal

    Swimming – Starters
    * Mr Taiwo Osawe
    * Mr Victor Loya (NN)
    * Mr Jimi Adebawo

    Open Water Swimming – Referee/Judge
    * Pst. Samuel N. Jesimiel  

    The following Federation members have been given awards by FINA for their contributions to the development of aquatic sports :

    * Dr Olu Asekun   –   FINA Gold pin
    * Chief Olatokunbo Thomas   –  FINA Gold pin
    * Dr Rufus A. Elegbe     –   FINA Silver pin
    * Mr Babatunde Fatayi-Williams  –  FINA Silver pin