Family, friends mourn passing of 19-year-old water polo player

Family, friends mourn passing of 19-year-old water polo player

Michele Ellson

Friends and family are mourning the loss of a 19-year-old Alameda man and avid swimmer and water polo player who died of natural causes while playing a water polo match at a local swim center. Ryan Joseph McDaniels died Tuesday night while on a break from a match at Emma Hood Swim Center.

Public safety officials said a 19-year-old man, who The Alamedan later identified as McDaniels, lost consciousness while on a break from the match, shortly before 9 p.m. Tuesday. They said he had a lifelong medical condition that others - including his brother, who was at the match with him - were aware of, and that CPR was started on him immediately. He was then transported to Alameda Hospital.

McDaniels was a 2010 graduate of Alameda High School and was attending the College of Alameda and working for McDaniels Landscaping, an obituary published online said. It said he swam competitively for a dozen years with Alameda Island Aquatics, the Alameda Ala-Gators and at Alameda High School, and had begun teaching younger kids to swim. But he loved water polo above all other sports, it said, competing on the Alameda High team.

McDaniels also participated in the Lincoln Middle School Marching Band, Alameda Youth Soccer, Alameda Little League, and Boy Scouts while growing up, the obituary said.

"He loved spending time with his brothers and friends, the outdoors, music, playing various instruments, writing lyrics poems, history, science, good conversation and intense debates," it said.

A funeral mass will be held at 10 a.m. Monday at St. Philip Neri Catholic Church, 3101 Van Buren Street, Alameda. In lieu of flowers, contributions to a memorial scholarship fund for the Alameda High School swimming and water polo programs can be sent to Ryan J. McDaniels Aquatic Fund, c/o Bank of Alameda, 2130 Otis Drive, Alameda, Calif. 94501.