South African Olympic swimmer Ryk Neethling has been appointed CEO of the Princess Charlene of Monaco Foundation, an organization that teaches children essential water safety skills and how to swim.
“Ryk is a true champion — a man of integrity‚ talent and remarkable inner strength. He is passionate about water safety and will‚ I know‚ take my foundation from strength to strength in SA,” said Princess Charlene of Neethling’s voluntary appointment. The foundation has reached over 300,000 people worldwide in its efforts to reduce drowning deaths.
Of his new role, Neethling stated, “Since my swimming career started at the age of five after a near-drowning incident‚ I have shared the same passion for water safety as Her Serene Highness Princess Charlene. Twenty-five years ago‚ we both began representing SA at international swimming competitions‚ and it is an incredible honour for me to now be entrusted with the task of leading her foundation here in our country… The cause is a critical one.”
39-year-old Neethling is a former Arizona Wildcat swimmer and 4-time Olympian who earned Olympic gold as a member of South African’s 4x100m freestyle relay at the 2004 Olympics in Athens.
In February of 2016, Neethling was named as Laureus Ambassador in recognition of his significant contributions to the sporting community, as well as having been a positive role model and icon of success during his career.