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Whatever happened to: The 2004 South African Swim Team

August 4, 2012

What with the newfound popularity of South African swimmer Chad Le Clos and those adorable dimples, winnin’ gold medals and lookin’ cute doing it, it brings to mind South African Swim Teams of yore.

2004 was a great year for Olympic Swimming. Australia’s Ian Thorpe was all over Athens, winning medals of every color but mostly just giving dirty looks to some 19 year old kid who was daring to dethrone him as King of the Pool. That kid would later go on to become the most decorated Olympian of all time. Australia and the USA were dominating all of the events in both the Men’s and Women’s competitions.

On the second day of competition, however, one team appeared out of nowhere to defeat both The Nederlands (whose big name swimmer at the time was Pieter Van Den Hoogenband, and if you don’t know who he is you need to look him up because he was #1 hottie around these parts for a minute. Also he had a lot of BFF time with The Thorpedo), and Team USA in the Men’s 4×100 Freestyle Relay.

Which team was that?

Oh just the South African Swim Team:

L to R: Roland Schoeman, Lyndon Ferns, Darian Townsend and Ryk Neethling. And Michael Phelps hilariously looking really irritated. via.

The star of the team was Roland Schoeman, who was the only other South African swimmer to win a medal in Athens — a silver in the 100M Free, and a bronze in the 50M Free, but my eyes were glued to that hottie Ryk Neethling, whose only claim to fame other than this race was that he was dating Amanda Beard at the time. I love these scandalous Olympic romances!

South Africa’s swim team kinda fell off the map in 2008, not earning a single medal, and I forgot all about them. Let’s find out what they’ve been up to.

Roland Schoeman

Turns out Roland, despite my completely forgetting his existence for eight years, is still swimming! He is actually at the 2012 Olympic Games and competed in the Men’s 50M Free final just yesterday. That’s kind of hilarious. Good job to you, Roland!

According to his website, Roland2012.com, he splits his time between Phoenix, AZ, and his home in Australia, and is an avid golfer when he’s not in the pool. Well that sounds fun. He also tweets pretty frequently @rolandschoeman.

Lyndon Ferns

Oh hello.

Lyndon, who went to University of Arizona along with Roland, kept swimming competitively, although he did not make it to any other Olympics, that I can see. He did compete in the 2009 World Championships in Rome for South Africa, and most recently competed in the 2010 Pan Pacific Championships. In 2011 he retired from swimming and took up his real passion: accounting.

According to his Facebook, he now works for SA Training Services as a Financial Manager. Crunch those number, bb!

Shamelessly stole this picture from his Facebook

Darian Townsend

Darian, who briefly studied at the University of Florida and competed alongside Ryan Lochte, is currently attending the University of Arizona and, like Roland, is also still swimming. What?! He swam three events in London but did not medal in any of them. Womp womp.

Ryk Neethling

Ryk Neethling, omg. What a hottie. Can we just take a moment to appreciate this?

HELLO THERE. via.

Seriously have NO IDEA what this is but I’m going to appreciate it anyway. via.

Okay, anyway. Ryk Neethling also went to University of Arizona, like the rest of his South African Teammates. He has the distinction of being the first South African to compete in 4 consecutive Olympic Games, making his premiere in 1996 in Atlanta, and then continuing on until 2008 in Beijing. His only medal came from 2004 in Athens.

Something interesting is that Qatar offered him a multi-million dollar deal to switch nationalities and swim for Qatar in the 2008 games. He did refuse and went on to swim for South Africa. That’s kind of hilarious. I didn’t even know you could do that.

Ryk recently came into the limelight after his ex, Amanda Beard’s book was released, In the Water They Can’t See You Cry, earlier this year. According to an article in the Times Live, in the book Beard recalls how on a trip to South Africa to meet Neethling’s family, there was much cocaine, ecstacy and acid use, to help her deal with being in a bad relationship. Ryk had no comment on the matter. I think she’s exaggerating. We all know Amanda Beard is crazy, right? SHE’S NUTS. I try to like her but I just can’t. Ugh.

I’m not really sure what Ryk is doing nowadays. but according to his Twitter bio (@rykneethling), he is a “businessman and inspirational speaker.” Huh. Okay.

Still a hottie. He can speak inspirationally to me with those abs. IS INSPIRATIONALLY A WORD? I just invented it. via.

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