Daniel Tyner is always ready to strike.
Each time Tyner, a junior member of the men’s water polo team, enters the water for the Colonials, he drives the ball down the pool, maintaining offensive possession and leaving the opposing team in the dust. At the start of every game, Tyner strives to set up early points for teammates by attacking on the offensive, exemplifying his role as a veteran utility.
And in the natatorium, Tyner’s persistence and drive serves more than just his play – it motivates his teammates to charge the opponent’s net as well.
“When I start to play well in the beginning of the game and get the game going, I think my teammates feed off of my energy,” Tyner said. “I take on the role of getting my teammates fired up for the game and getting them excited.”
Tyner strives to embody the leadership quality of being a source of motivation and support for his teammates.
“Since it is my third year on the team, I am a leader now”, Tyner said. “The younger players look to me to get everyone on the same page at the start of each game.”
His personal play serves as a strong example for the young members of the Colonials, who suit up 10 freshmen and sophomores. Tyner’s already netted 30 goals on the season, and he was named the CWPA Southern Division Player of the Week Wednesday after his outstanding performance to lead GW in the Gary Troyer Memorial Tournament over the weekend.
But the junior doesn’t focus on his personal stats. Tyner takes great pride in his teammates’ success and strives to play for the good of the team, not for his own personal accomplishments. It’s an attribute that makes him one of the strongest members of the Colonials, head coach Scott Reed said.
“Tyner is doing exactly what he needs to in the pool,” Reed said. “He scores on the opportunities that he has and gets the ball to the players that have better shooting opportunities than he does, which is what he has been doing the entire season. He basically does a little bit of everything.”
When Tyner joined the Colonials, he was a freshman who was accustomed to high school matches in his hometown. His water polo career began when he was only eight years old in Long Beach, Calif., where he continued to play all through high school.
The shift to collegiate Division I play was significant, forcing him to grow in both skill and maturity. But Tyner soon adjusted to the learning curve, Reed said, and assumed his role on GW’s roster more easily over time.
“Tyner has definitely grown since he was a freshman,” Reed said. “He gained maturity and acquired the ability to deal with Division 1 water polo day in and day out. Every game he has played, he has gotten better and better.”
Last season, Tyner’s growth as a skilled utility led him to be a 2011 CWPA Southern Division First Team Selection after racking up a total of 48 goals for the team. And as he approaches the middle of this season, Tyner’s ultimate goal is to do whatever it takes to continue to raise his team’s level of success.
Every game, Tyner said, he is inspired by the roar of the crowd, the dedication of his teammates, and the support from his coach.
“I am willing to do whatever the team needs me to do”, Tyner said. “My goal in the pool is to make everyone else better.”