Head Coach

Head Coach Dominique Donner

Dominique Donner-Rodd

  • Director and Head Coach of North Coast Dolphins Swim Team, Chairman of Kwa-Zulu Natal Biathlon Association Project Manager for Friends of Swimmers Trust
  • Former Project Manager for Princess Charlene of Monaco Foundation, SA Swim South Africa Accredited Coach – Level 3
  • Frankie Frog Intermediate and Advanced Learn-to-Swim Teachers Diploma
  • Former South African and African Triathlon Champion SA Protea Colours: Biathlon, Triathlon, Aquathon, Duathlon
  • Goodwill Games 2001 competitor
  • Olympics 2000 qualifier

Athletic and professional career

I have always enjoyed sport. At school in Cape Town, I participated in all the sports on offer, although my focus was swimming. I was a jack of all trades! I won my first provincial colours in life-saving and shortly afterward in biathlon. Biathlon involves swimming and track running and is a great introduction to the world of multi-sport.

In my Matric year of 1989, I won my provincial colours in squash and netball and my South African colours in biathlon. In the same year, I won the Victrix Ludorum and broke two SA age-group records at the South African Junior Swimming Nationals.

My first triathlon inter provincials were held in Port Elizabeth in 1990 and I won the South African junior title. I earned my first Protea colours for triathlon in 1992. In the same year, I won the inaugural South African Life-Saving Iron-Lady Championship.

Highlights of my career were many. I won several provincials titles, South African and African Championships and represented South Africa at World Championships (1992 – 2002)

I won SA Female Triathlete of the Decade (1990 – 2000).

I was selected onto the Olympic 2000 squad. I qualified for the Olympics with an Olympic ranking of 12th but unfortunately, NOCSA denied Kim Carter and myself our spots on the start list. As a result, only 48 of the 50 women started the inaugural Olympic Triathlon.

After the Olympic disappointment, I was more determined and I put my energy into winning the 5FM/Energade Triathlon Series. In 2000 I won all the races, 8 consecutive wins, and the SA Sprint Championship. In 2001 I won the series again.

I was crowned South African Champion, African Champion, and the South African Half Ironman Champion.

I competed in the 1989 – 2002 ITU World Cup Series and competed for South Africa at the 2001 Goodwill Games held in Brisbane, Australia.

In 2002 I won the SA Ultra Triathlon and qualified to race the ITU World Triathlon Championships in Nice, France.

I finished 16th Pro.

I moved to Durban in 2003 and I gave birth to my son Luc in April 2004 and although I have never made a serious comeback to the sport, I have won the KZN Triathlon Championships on four occasions and the KZN Duathlon Championships twice.

2005 African Championships I came 3rd Pro.

2006 I raced IRONMAN SOUTH AFRICA (IMSA) and came 7th Pro.

After a three year absence from triathlon, I raced 2010 IM 70.3 SOUTH AFRICA and finished 10th Pro. Returning to the sport at an elite level at 39 is no easy task!

I won 2010 KZN Triathlon Championship (Pro) and I won the 2010 African Championship (overall amateur title).

My final race as a professional was 2010 IRONMAN FRANCE and I finished 11th Pro.

Teaching and coaching

Champions come and go, but to me, the real judge of my success will be the opportunities I have to be a role model and ambassador for the sport, to encourage others and to be the best they can.

I am passionate about coaching children in realizing their dreams.

I have been involved in coaching swimming, biathlon, and triathlon for 28 years now.

I began my teaching and coaching career in 1990 under the guidance of Coach Tom Fraenkel. Tom Fraenkel was the coach to world-class swimmers, Annette Cowley, Sean Frampton, and Glen Hignett and won South African “Coach of the Year” award on several occasions. Tom was also a guest speaker at the Swimming Hall of Fame in Fort Lauderdale.

I taught learn-to-swim to 30 children a day for four years and became headteacher of the very successful Frankie Frog Swim School in Constantia.

I started Frankie Frog swim squads in 1992.

In 1994, Tom Fraenkel immigrated to the USA and I took over as head coach of CH&RC Aquatics.

In my second year as head coach, the club won the Western Province Swimming Champs.

I coached CH&RC Aquatics for 5 years before I was selected to the Olympic Squad for triathlon. Training and traveling to World Cup events made it impossible for me to continue coaching.

In 2006, I began coaching again full time in Ballito, together with Coach Branny Ivkovic. Together Branny and I build up a competitive squad and swimmers registered with Seagulls Swimming Club.

Seals Swimming Club

In 2008, Coach Branny was offered a top coaching position in Serbia and I formed Team Donner Swim Team. In 2010 we joined forces with Seals Swimming Club Pietermaritzburg.

I enjoyed working closely with SA Olympic Coach, Wayne Riddin and together as Seals we were the top club in Kwa-Zulu Natal winning the Junior and Senior Provincial titles and placing top 3 nationally at the SA Junior Nationals.

North Coast Dolphins Swim Team

Pressure from KZN Aquatics forced me to form my own swimming club on the North Coast of KZN and in 2016 I founded North Coast Dolphins Swim Team.

The club is based at Crawford College North Coast.

NCDST currently has around 70 talented members and 40 registered swimmers. The Team boasts many top performers with several swimmers achieving Top 10 SA rankings.

8 team members were selected to the KZN Schools’ Team.

The Team achieved fantastic results at the 2019 Level 2 and Level 3 Regional Championships and the SA Junior Nationals.

NCDST is the holder of two provincial relay records.

North Coast Dolphins Swim Team is consistently placing amongst the top 5 clubs in Kwa- Zulu Natal.

I have been responsible for over 150 athletes achieving their provincial colours. Several of my athletes have achieved South African national colours; Natalie du Toit (Olympic Swimming), Wendy Trott (Olympic Swimming), Karl Thaning (Olympic Swimming), Alain Tardin (Swimming), Julie Thompson (Biathlon), Michael Gibson (Biathlon), Ziada Jardine (Swimming), Taariq Nordien (Swimming), Raazik Nordien (Swimming), Lana Piemontesi (Swimming), Marcello Da Silva (Biathlon), Brendon Lagerdien (Swimming), Keagan Aiken (Water-Polo), JJ Botha (Biathlon), Megan Tully (Swimming).

PRINCESS CHARLENE OF MONACO FOUNDATION

In 2013 I was appointed South African project manager for the Princess Charlene of Monaco Foundation. With this position, I became very involved in community work; collaborating with schools in under-privileged areas raising public awareness of the dangers of water. The Foundation set about spreading its mission nationally; to make an impact on reducing death by drowning and saving young lives through the power of sport.

My contract with the Foundation ended in December 2017.

Friends of Swimmers Trust

In 2018 I was appointed Project Manager for Friends of Swimmers Trust under the direction of Midmar Mile Director, Wayne Riddin.

The Trust has set up several learn-to-swim projects which include schools; Liv-Village School, Maidstone Primary, Verulam Independent School, Solomon Mahlangu Primary and Imbalito Hope College for Autism.

The Trust supports South African elite swimmers with their travel costs to international competitions; identifies talented swimmers and offers them long-term guidance to potentially pursue a career in professional sport.

Sport has been my greatest teacher in life. I have learned so many valuable life lessons- patience, persistence, punctuality, trust, morals- some of the virtues we strive to live by, respect, confidence, and humility.

My passion and purpose are to coach. I am at my happiest when on the pool deck and it is a privilege to have the responsibility to teach, develop and inspire young children to be their best.