Our very own Olympic swimming champion and gold medallist, Ryk Neethling recently visited the Jaeger-LeCoultre manufacturing centre in Switzerland. During his visit, he was introduced to the incredible 180 various skills involved in developing and producing the luxurious and sought after Jaeger-LeCoultre timepieces.
Neethling also had the chance to meet the Jaeger-LeCoultre master-watchmakers, who handed over the tools and gave Neethling the chance to try assembling the timepieces himself.
‘What particularly impressed me during my visit was the passion, the precision, the values and the work ethic that permeate the corridors. I was absolutely stunned by the workmanship – I personally tried my hand at some techniques, which made me realise what it actually takes to produce such finely-crafted pieces.’
He said, ‘Everything at Jaeger-LeCoultre centres on attention to detail – an attribute that has also guided me in life, and that will continue to do so. At the same time, I regard passion as a crucial life ingredient and this, the people of Jaeger- LeCoultre have in abundance. The Jaeger-LeCoultre brand furthermore epitomises workmanship, quality and authenticity. To be associated with this remarkable brand and world leader in the field of watchmaking, is a tremendous honour.’
SIX THINGS YOU MAY NOT KNOW ABOUT RYK NEETHLING
- Neethling discovered his passion for swimming as a young boy in Bloemfontein, South Africa. Following his participation in the 2008 Summer Olympics, he became the first South African to compete in four successive Olympic Games.
- The highlight of his career came in 2004, when he won the gold medal and set a new world record in the 4x100m freestyle relay along with Roland Schoeman, Lyndon Ferns and Darian Townsend. To serve as a source of inspiration to the pupils, he donated his Olympic gold medal to his former high school, Grey College in Bloemfontein.
- Neethling’s long list of achievements is a living testament to his relentless pursuit of excellence. These include breaking five world records and being crowned world champion three times. In addition, he was World Cup Swimmer of the Year for three consecutive years and University of Arizona Athlete of the Century.
- In 2012, Neethling managed and mentored Olympic gold medallist Cameron van der Burgh.
- He was appointed Laureus Sport for Good Foundation Ambassador in 2015. He is also Princess Charlene of Monaco Foundation Ambassador, and is CEO of the Foundation in South Africa. The Princess is a friend and former teammate.
- Neethling is a shareholder of, and marketing manager at, Val de Vie, a luxury South African residential estate situated in the scenic Paarl Franschhoek valley. Through the Val de Vie Foundation, Neethling supports South African communities in need.