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
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
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
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
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.
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