Ryk Neethling OIS (born 17 November 1977) is a South African swimmer. He won an Olympic gold medal in the 4×100 m freestyle relay at the 2004 Summer Olympics. He won three individual gold medals at the 2006 FINA World Championships in Shanghai. 9 time NCAA Champion and 1999 NCAA Swimmer of the Year. He is the former joint owner of the 4×100 m freestyle relay world record and broke the 100m Individual Medley World Record three times in 2005. He also is the first South African to compete in four successive Olympic Games.
|Full name||Ryk Neethling|
|Born||17 November 1977|
|College team||Arizona Wildcats|
Born in Bloemfontein, he attended Grey College, where he excelled in swimming, earning a place in the South African swimming team for the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta, where he came fifth in the 1500 m freestyle.
Immediately following the Games he was enrolled at The University of Arizona in the United States, where he further cemented his swimming reputation, earning a numerous awards and accolades, including being the 9 times NCAA National Champion, Arizona Athlete of the Year and PAC-10 Athlete of the Year for four consecutive years, 1999 NCAA Swimmer of the Year, and the University of Arizona Athlete of the Century award.
He continued his international career at the 1998 Commonwealth Games, winning the silver medal in the 1500 m freestyle, but only managing fifth at the 1998 World Aquatics Championships. In 1999 he had a much better Pan Pacific Championships winning silver in the 1500 m freestyle, and bronze in the 400 m and 200 m freestyle. After achieving a disappointing 5th in the 1500 m freestyle event and 8th in the 400 m freestyle at the 2000 Summer Olympics in Sydney he elected to discontinue competing in the 1500 m event, concentrating instead on the 50 m and 100 m freestyle events. He is the only men's swimmer in Olympic history to swim in the 100 to 1500m freestyle finals At the 2002 Commonwealth Games he won a bronze medal in the 100 m freestyle and came 4th in the 50 m freestyle events. At the 2006 Commonwealth Games he won silver in the 100 m freestyle and was part of the S.A gold medal winning 4×100 m freestyle relay team.
He currently holds the South African record in the 200 m, 400 m, 800 m and 1500 m freestyle events, and recently held 4×100 m freestyle relay world record. He also broke three world records in the 100m individual medley.
In November 2005, he announced that he had refused a multimillion-dollar offer by Qatar's Olympic body to switch nationalities and swim for Qatar at the 2008 Beijing Olympics.
The 4×100 m freestyle relay world record was subsequently broken in 2006 by the United States.
After finishing the 2008 Summer Olympics. He became the first South African to participate four successive Olympic Games.
He is now shareholder and marketing director of Val de Vie Estate a luxury property development in Paarl, South Africa.
- "2004 Olympic Games swimming results". CNN. Retrieved 22 July 2007.
- "Montreal 2005 Results". Archived from the original on 28 January 2007. Retrieved 9 June 2007.
- "Shanghai 2006 results". Archived from the original on 6 March 2007. Retrieved 24 July 2007.
- "Swimming Schedule and Results". Archived from the original on 11 August 2007. Retrieved 22 August 2007.
- "BBC Sport Commonwealth Games 2002 Statistics". BBC News. Retrieved 29 August 2007.
| World Record Holder
Men's 100 Individual Medley (25m)
22 January 2005 – 12 April 2008
| FINA World Cup
overall male winner