Chad le Clos and Cameron van der Burgh, both gold medallists, in London were named in a 10-man swimming squad on Wednesday. Additional relay athletes were expected to be announced at a later stage.
Bridgitte Hartley, a bronze medallist in London, was the only canoeist included in the team.
The SA Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (Sascoc) also confirmed a six-member marathon team spearheaded by three-time Hannover Marathon winner Lusapho April and in-form distance runner Irvette van Zyl.
The men’s cycling team for the road race would consist of two riders, former national champions Daryl Impey and Louis Meintjes, who both compete regularly for foreign trade outfits on the UCI World Tour.
“With the combined team effort from the national federations, coaches, athletes and us at Sascoc, we’re confident that we have compiled the best team possible with the resources available,” said Sascoc chief executive Tubby Reddy.
“The team is an excellent combination of experienced campaigners and rising stars who will hopefully bring more medals from Rio than we did at the 2012 London Olympics.”
The nation’s final Olympic team, expected to consist of well over 100 athletes, would be announced on July 14, with track and field, rowing, sevens rugby, football and golf among the squads which had not yet been announced.
The qualifying window in some codes, including athletics, closes on July 11.
Initial SA team for Rio Olympics:
Men: Lusapho April, Sibusiso Nzima, Lungile Gongqa
Women: Irvette van Zyl, Christine Kalmer, Diana-Lebo Phalula
Cycling, road race
Men: Daryl Impey, Louis Meintjes
Women: Bridgitte Hartley
Men’s artistic: Ryan Patterson
Men: Stefano Marcia, Asenathi Jim, Roger Hudson
Women: Julia Vincent
Men: Chad le Clos, Cameron van der Burgh, Sebastien Rousseau, Michael Meyer, Christopher Reid, Matthew Meyer, Myles Brown, Bradley Tandy, Douglas Erasmus, Jarred Crous