One on One with Dan Trninic

Tue, 05/03/2013 - 17:32

Dan Trninic is a proud ambassador of the sport of water polo hailing from Gauteng water polo powerhouse St John's College, where he learnt the basics of his education and began practicing his skills in water polo.

Dan started playing polo in 2005 at St Johns Prep and has since had a highly decorated junior career and come to his own during his senior years. In 2012 Dan was selected for every tournament team of every tournament that St John's entered. As an integral part of the St John's College team, Dan is a player who his teammates can count on and extremely adept in attack and defence. 

Teams Selected For

Year Team
2005 Started Water Polo Career
2006 St Johns Prep 1st Team
2007 Gauteng U13A
2008 Gauteng U13A
2009 U14A & U15A St Johns
2010 St Johns 1st Team
2011 St Johns 1st Team
2012 SA Schools U19 & SA U18
2013 St Johns 1st Team

Tournaments Record

Year  Placement
2008 2nd place: SA Schools U13A
2009 U14A :Won Ken Short
2009 U14A: Won SA Schools
2009 U14A: Won Wynberg U15 Tourney
2010 U15A: Won Wynberg Tourney
2010 2nd Place: Indigo Parktown Tourney
2010 2nd Place: SA Schools U15A
2011 1st VII: Won Clifton National Tourney
2011 1st VII: Won St Stithians Tourney
2011 2nd Place: SA Schools U16A
2012 Won: Old Eds Short Course Water Polo Cup
2012 1st VII: Won KES Tourney
2012 1st VII: Won St Stithians Tourney
2013 2nd Place:KES Tourney

Tournament Team Selection

Year Tournament
2009 Ken Short
2010 Wynberg U15 Tourney
2012 KES Tourney
2012 Clifton Tourney
2012 SACS Tourney
2012 St Stithians Tourney
2012 SA Schools Tourney
2012 Pretoria Boys Festival
2013 Pretoria Boys Festival
2013 KES Tourney

Individual Awards

Year Award
2009 Best Player at U14 Ken Short
2010 Best Defender at U15 Wynberg Tourney
2012 Best Defender at SACS 1st VII Tourney
2012 Best Defender at St Stithians 1st VII Tourney
2013 Best Player at KES 1st VII Tourney

Sazi Luke caught up with Dan Trninic to find out what he does to keep himself at the top level and what he thinks about this year’s polo season.

Dan can you tell about your earliest memories of water polo and how you started getting involved?
Dan Trninic: Well my dad has been a coach of water polo since I was born so my earliest memories were just me probably about three or four years old playing on the side of the pool with him coaching and playing I think it was Eastern Gauteng back in the 90’s somewhere, and really ever since I can remember I’ve been by the pool just like playing, watching, seeing what’s going on.

You mentioned your dad also happens to be your first team coach, can you tell us about the relationship you guys share in and out the pool?
Dan Trninic: Our relationship has always been great, we’ve always got along very well, out the pool very good and in the pool. It's actually quite hard because other guys when they go home they can forget about polo, but I when go home he’s still there and we always chat about what I should be doing so it’s always a factor in anything - at dinner we’ll speak about polo, [...] it's always been one of the main things in my life. 

Do you ever get tired about speaking with your dad about polo?
Dan Trninic: Sometimes... But it’s really been one of my greatest things in life and it’s really one of my favourite things to do.

You have a European water polo tie through your father, can you tell us how that has impacted your water polo experience?
Dan Trninic: It’s greatly impacted since he was born in Yugoslavia, and since then that has turned to Croatia, Serbia, and all the rest. Since all my family is up there and sometimes we go up there for holidays I’ll train with some of the Croatian clubs like Jug and POŠK. And there’s a much higher level of polo there so it’s been very helpful to my water polo career.

When you start, you mustn’t take a holiday or a season off.

Since HSSM has been covering water polo last year we have noticed that you have maintained and have been in every tournament team, can you tell us what it takes to maintain this steady level of consistency?
Dan Trninic: It takes consistent practice. Trying to keep every week to keep the standard up - if you can make 9 practices a week then, if you can, try do that, 'cause I go Monday morning, Monday afternoon, Tuesday morning, afternoon, it goes on like that and that’s in addition with club practices with the OJ Eagles teams and one on one things that my dad has. When you start, you mustn’t take a holiday or a season off. Like we have rugby season and water polo season, that doesn’t go with me. I have water polo season and during rugby season I’ll still be training water polo, so you have to keep consistent training to achieve I suppose.

And who would you say has been your biggest influence and role model in polo?
Dan Trninic: Oh that’s an easy answer, my father.

How are your parents supportive besides the rest of your family, are they very supportive towards of your water polo goals?
Dan Trninic: Oh, very supportive. Besides my dad there’s my mom who is also a water polo coach at Rodean and everyone in my family has been supportive - my sister and all the rest of my family in Croatia, they don’t really get involved much but they all very happy with it.

You stepped down from the SA U18 team that went to the Fina World champs last year for personal reasons, are there any regrets regarding that decision and how do you think the team performed?
Dan Trninic: Well I do regret not going because it would have been a great experience 'cause all these other teams: Serbia, Croatia, Australia and other teams were performing. So, ja, I do regret no going but obviously for personal reasons I couldn’t, and I think the team didn’t really perform to the standard that we would have liked to, but I suppose they did the best they could I guess.

Dan Trninic

This water polo season has been panning out quite differently as compared to last year where you had a few teams dominating. This year there’s an equal plane were all the best teams are beating each other, what do you think has brought about this change this year?
Dan Trninic: There’s better interaction between the coaches and stuff. My dad hasn’t just been focusing on the St Johns players 'cause he coaches Gauteng and all the coaches are kind of getting together trying to improve the quality of the sport as a whole, not just focusing on making their own team better so it's because of that that everyone’s trying to bring up all of the levels to come to the same sort of platform.

 I mean I’m quite happy with what I have done so far, but I’d still like to win SACS or at least play the best we could at SACS tournament in third term.

You have achieved quite a lot in your very short water polo high school career, are there any other goals you plan on achieving?
Dan Trninic: Well I feel I have done quite a lot, I mean I’m quite happy with what I have done so far, but I’d still like to win SACS or at least play the best we could at SACS tournament in third term. And I’d like to win the curry cup now with the OJ Eagles team and also try get my school academics good so I can go study at Tuks or wherever. Other than that I’m quite happy.

If you had to name a team that you feel has caused you a great deal of trouble every time you have played them, or any player that has always been a difficult player to play against, which would that team and player be?
Dan Trninic: I think from recently it would probably have to be St Stithians because they’ve caused quite an uproar. Before, this team as it stands now has not won many tournaments. I don’t think they have won anything this year except this weekend's KES, and their team, I mean their grade 11’s, have been playing outstanding compared to ours. And one stand out would be Nicholas van der Elst because he has been playing out of his boots and actually has been causing an uproar in our team and all over.

A lot of new school kids are kind of getting motivated to play the sport so it's looking up in South Africa

What are your goals regarding water polo in the future once you're out of school? Do you plan on going to Europe to carry on playing water polo or do you plan on staying here and playing socially?
Dan Trninic: I plan on staying here at least until I finish my undergraduate studies at one of the universities, and I’ll play for the OJ Eagles team, I’ll try to make the SA squad. [...] When I decide to take my studies further I might try to apply to clubs in Europe like in Serbia or Croatia or anywhere around there and see if I can get up to that level.

You’ve been privileged enough to play with some European sides in the past, how do you think the gap is between SA and those teams, do you think it's widening or do you think it's closing?
Dan Trninic: I think slowly, and slowly since the sport is growing in the country [...] 'cause the finances in Europe especially have been declining quite a lot. I mean a lot of very good clubs have closed down and here in SA it seems to be doing quite well. A lot of new school kids are kind of getting motivated to play the sport so it's looking up in South Africa I think. So, the gap I’d say is slowly but surely closing.

I think Saints, Reddam, Clifton and SACS are doing very well.

If you had to make a prediction, which teams do you think will be the standout teams come fourth term and which players do you think will be up there amongst the best to be nominated for the SA U18 team this year?
Dan Trninic: I think Saints, Reddam, Clifton and SACS are doing very well. So probably Caudio Fernandes from Saints is looking quite good, he is a very sharp player and he will do quite well, and Nick van der Elst as I said before. From Reddam, I’d say Kenton Mobey and Cracker Ash. From our team, Roarke Olver our captain has always been a main integral part of our team and I think he’ll be playing very well in the fourth term.

And finally is there any special lady who’s always cheering for you from the stands?
Dan Trninic: Yes of course, my mom, she’s always in the stands cheering whenever she can make it when she’s not with her team or anything.

[laughing] So is your mom the only special lady?
Dan Trninic: [laughing] well amongst others but yes she is the standout.ϕ

HSSM thanks Dan Trninic and wishes him all the best for the future.

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