School: William Tennent
Favorite athlete: Carson Wentz
Favorite team: Philadelphia Eagles
Favorite memory competing in sports: When the team would pull together for a win against a tough opponent.
Most embarrassing/funniest thing that has happened while competing in sports: Overthrowing a football at practice and accidentally hitting the team’s record board.
Music on iPod: Right before a meet, I like to get ready by listening to some Metallica.
Future plans: I plan on going to college for Marine Engineering.
Words to live by: “Risk it for the Biscuit.”
One goal before turning 30: Before I turn 30, I would like to go on a one to two-week canoe trip down a river.
One thing people don’t know about me: I love long hikes and boating on a river or in the ocean.
By GORDON GLANTZ
William Tennent swimmer Tyler Urban did not need the validation of being named a captain this season to step into a leadership role.
He was a senior – a senior on a squad with a lot of incoming freshmen – and that’s all the information the Univest Featured Male Athlete of the Week needed to help fill that void.
“Tyler has been a leader on the team for years,” said his coach, Meghan Forlini, the daughter of swim coaches Jamie and the late Lisa Forlini. “As a senior, he has really stepped up his game in being a team player.”
While he has drastically improved his times in his main event, the 500, the “stepping up” may have been his biggest contribution.
“We had a large number of freshmen join the team this year,” he reiterated. “While the captains did a really good job, it was best if all the seniors showed leadership. Everyone needed to be supportive. It’s my senior year, and they are all looking up to you.”
In the classroom, Urban has always challenged himself with AP-level classes – even if it meant taking a summer course to prepare, and while he is his own harshest critic, claiming to have been “a little too lazy” as an underclassman, he still has a more than respectable GPA of 3.2.
“It’s not as good as I would have hoped,” said the youngest of Mary and Tom Urban’s four children. “Since my sophomore year, I have been enrolling in AP courses. I always tried to push myself a little more. This year, especially, I have been pushing myself more.”
And when some of his teammates were struggling while juggling swimming and academics, he again saw the need and stepped up.
“Outside of the pool, Tyler excels academically,” said Forlini. “He has gone out of his way to help many of his teammates academically.”
Said Urban: “Yes, I have done that a few times. I’m not a part of any official tutoring program or anything, but a few times, some people (on the team) were having trouble with chemistry and math and I stepped in to help them.
“I saw they were struggling, so I offered my assistance.”
If acting just as a captain or a tutor - without official titles - sounds like the honorable thing to do, it is not by accident.
While it is a passing phase for most – as Urban has learned, moving from one troop to the next as numbers dwindle - it has been a lifelong passion that has led him to be elected to the post of Senior Patrol Leader at an annual summer gig in Kunkletown, Pa., at the Trexler Scout Reservation as a swimming instructor in the Poconos.
“I’ve been in scouting since I was about eight years old,” he said. “I moved around to a few troops due to closures, since not a lot of people are into scouting anymore.”
But those who are, like Urban, take pride in projects like food drives and cleaning highways while also enjoying camping and canoe trips.
“Scouting is always something I thoroughly enjoyed,” he said. “I made a lot of my friends through scouting. It teaches valuable skills and has been a good learning experience.”
The way he has conducted himself on the Tennent campus as a student-athlete has a direct correlation to the leadership skills he learned as a scout.
“Yeah, I believe so,” confirmed Urban, who has attended a Boy Scout leadership training program. “Scouting teaches you to lead by example. Scouting definitely helped with that.
“It’s also something that my dad pushed on us – to always help the little guy out, to be a leader by example and always be respectful of others.”
After the upcoming league meet, Urban – who was also on the golf team and improved his game as a senior - will end his athletic career with some sadness but also a sense of relief and excitement about the next chapter of his life, that being college and his specialized career goal.
With an eye toward a career in marine engineering (designing boats, propellers, submarines, etc.), he applied to five schools he identified and is still waiting on two, including his top choice – the Webb Institute (Stevens Institute of Technology is the other he is waiting on).
“(The Webb Institute) is up in Long Island,” said Urban, who has been accepted to the Florida Institute of Technology, SUNY Maritime College and Penn State-Berks, which does not carry his desired major. “It has a real nice campus and a good program.
“Swimming has been such a good experience for me. I carved out a lot of great friendships, but it may be best to just focus on academics.”
That doesn’t mean he won’t compete in some sort of sport at the collegiate level, even if it is intramural or club.
That list of possibilities would expand beyond swimming and golf, which he began playing for fun with his Uncle Ron, to include water polo or rugby or boxing, saying “I’d hate to gain that Freshman 15.”
After being diagnosed as pre-Diabetic in his junior year and using his intensified swimming training along with changes in diet to shed the medical designation, he sees the need to remain active.
“I guess that is when I started to take swimming more seriously,” he said. “I have always been more on the overweight side. When I was diagnosed as pre-Diabetic, I focused like never before.
“I lost 35 pounds since November of my junior year.”
Urban began swimming at the Centennial Aquatic Club, under the tutelage of the Forlini family and spent a year with the Council Rock Swim Club before switching back to Centennial.
After focusing more in on his swimming as a junior, he couldn’t be any more pleased with how his senior year has gone.
“So far, it has been a lot of fun,” he said. “I am below six minutes in my 500 times, and I’m extremely happy about that. This year has felt great with swimming. I am in lane 2, the second fastest lane. It’s been a real fun season. We have some nice wins and some hard-fought losses.
“I have progressed since my freshman year. Before I got to Tennent, I didn’t take it all that seriously, but I saw how important it was.”
While it took a lot of hard work and self-motivation to put himself on the precipice of a bright future, Urban is well aware that he didn’t get there alone.
There are his parents, who seemed to be in synch with the emotions of the child who is 10 years younger than the next in the rest of the brood.
“I have to thank my mom and dad,” he said. “They were always there, pushing me, but also knew when to let me slide on days when I was tired.”
He also thanked his brother, Kyle, for “making me laugh, especially during swimming season” and his sister, Shannon, her husband Michael and their daughter, Hope.
Last but not least, there is his second family.
“Definitely, I want to thank the whole Forlini family – Jamie, Meghan and Lisa, who is gone, sadly,” he said. “They were all always there for me throughout my whole swimming career.”