Ryk Neethling

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Ryk Neethling

Ryk Neethling

Ryk Neethling - Motivational Speaker and Celebrity Sportsman - Cape Town

Ryk Neethling was born and raised in Bloemfontein, South Africa. He was raised by his parents Ryk and San-Marie with his two sisters Elsje and Jean-Marie. Growing up in a close knit family, Ryk learned the meaning of competition and determination. His sister, Elsje, was diagnosed with brain tumors at the age of twelve and endured three brain surgeries before recovering fully. Throughout her treatment, she continued swimming, never giving up her hope, determination, and passion while fighting for her life. It was this mentality that Ryk adopted in his swimming that led him to his international and collegiate success.

Ryk Neethling

Ryk Neethling is one of the most successful swimmers in history to compete for the University of Arizona and the Republic of South Africa.

 Ryk has participated in the last three Olympic Games for South Africa, culminating in a Gold Medal and World Record performance in the 2004 Olympics in Athens, Greece. Currently, Neethling holds the South African record in five different events and ranks in the top ten in the world in both the 50, 100, 200 Freestyle and Individual Medleys.


Yet it is his success as an intercollegiate swimmer at the University of Arizona that elevated him to become one of the most highly regarded athletes in Tucson and the International swimming community. Ryk’s collegiate athletic career at Arizona was unmatched, leading to nine individual NCAA Championships and the Arizona Athlete of the Century Award.

Ryk Neethling

Ryk Neethling

Ryk Neethling

During his career at Arizona, Ryk’s success in athletics was unparalleled. He was a nine-time NCAA National Champion (2nd most in history). He was voted Arizona Athlete of the Year and PAC-10 Swimmer of the Year for four consecutive years. In 1999, the NCAA named him the Swimmer of the Year, the highest honor in intercollegiate swimming.

He also earned other Arizona honors such as the Sapphire Award Winner in 2000. But the most prestigious award he received during his collegiate career was the University of Arizona Athlete of the Century Award, over other influential Arizona athletes such as Annika Sorrenstan, Chrissy Ahman, Jason Terry, Amy Skieresz, Jenny Finch, and Abdi Abdirahman.

Ryk Neethling

Currently, Ryk is based in Johannesburg, South Africa. He is coached by Dean Price and is enjoying being back in South Africa. Ryk continues to travel to international competitions to represent South Africa and in 2004 he competed in the World Championships in Montreal and the FINA World Cup 2005/6 series in Durban, Sydney and Korea. Ryk returned from the Sweden leg of the FINA World Cup and in the lead on the points table.

Ryk Neethling Ryk Neethling




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