I've come to South Africa to find out more about the country through the sport of swimming. Swimming in South Africa is a story of two very different experiences. Whereas white South Africans have dominated the competitive swimming world for decades, most black and coloured South Africans still can't swim.

Much has been written about why white athletes dominate swimming. There's a popular theory that black athletes don't have the right physiological make-up to compete in water. But most experts believe the disparity between races is to do with economic opportunity.

Thirteen years after the end of apartheid, nationwide learn-to-swim programmes are attempting to redress this disparity. I'm here to join these programmes to see how swimming is changing the lives and economic opportunities of young South Africans.

And at the same time, I'm going to attempt a swimming goal of my own. I'm no great swimmer, but I love it. At the end of April I'm hoping to swim the 8km from Robben Island to Cape Town.

This project is made possible thanks to the generous support of the BBC Alexander Onassis bursary.