Dear Fellow Swim Coaches:
Your opinions, feedback and participation are welcomed, at your leisure, as you are able. Thanks for the consideration.
#1. You, your spouse, other helpers with you team, and even a few of your varsity swimmers are invited to join in at a seminar and demonstration as well as post-game social to be held in Pittsburgh’s South Side starting at 6:30 pm on Wednesday, April 12, 2017, at the historic, Citiparks’ Oliver Bath House. Out of town guest include aquatic experts with the National Drowning Prevention Alliance (NDPA.org) and Kevin McCarthy of Washington state, inventor of the aquatic game, SKWIM. Bring your swim suit and towel as we will put our PA friends into SKWIM games with opponents from around the nation, learning about this terrific game that you might want to deploy in your facilities too. Then walk to post game social at 9 pm at our home / office at 108 S. 12th Street, South Side, Pgh 15203.
#2. This past season EVERY high school swim meet we hosted in the city had to begin at 2:30 pm, due to officials shortages. Ugh.
#3. Because we need more community engagement, and officials, I am most interested in starting a wide reaching ALUMNI SWIMMING effort. Sure, there is Masters swimming, Tri swimming, Masters Water Polo and Underwater Hockey. All happen in Pittsburgh. Plus, a few of the largest districts have annual alumni events too. Great. But, I think this is the right time to launch a PA and WPIAL SWIM ALUMNI organization. I will be happy to do the heavy lifting and get this started, but would you be willing to serve on a steering committee and participate in a few conference calls? If so, send an email to Mark@Rauterkus.com.
#4. Another way to expand and improve swimming in PA, that I think we should address, comes with the formation of another CLASS beyond the existing AAA and AA. Let’s ponder the possibilities and ramifications of making a legitimate JV Swim Classification. We have city schools, big and small, that do not have swim teams. Plus, we have teams that are fielding teams that are struggling to survive. A new, “JV designation,” within the rules, with a few JV focused meets, could be most welcomed addition for the sport in many settings. Ideas? Mark@Rauterkus.com.
Thanks again. Best wishes to you and your teams.
Sead Niksic, 11th grade, Obama Academy student, won the 100 backstroke in WPIAL Championships, class AA, today (3/3/17) at Pitt’s Trees Hall, in a record time of 51.29. He won the event by a four-second margin. This was his first WPIAL title in the backstroke.
Last year, Sead was the first student from any Pittsburgh Public Schools in any sport to get a gold-medal in an individual WPIAL event when he won the 100 yard fly as a sophomore. In the 2017 100 fly, Sead went faster then the WPIAL record, but finished in second place.
This year, Obama swimmers can boast to have the city’s first WPIAL record breaker in an individual event in any sport. The boys swim team at Obama claimed the first city WPIAL section title in any sport back in 2013, the first year some city teams were able to compete in the WPIAL, PIAA District 7, rather than District 8, often called “The City League.”
Sead will swim the 100 fly and the 100 back in the 2017 PIAA Class AA Championships in two weeks at Bucknell University. This year Sead will be joined at states by his sister, Amila Niksic, an Obama Academy freshman, as she finished second in the 100 backstroke, improving by more than four seconds and moving to the silver medal from the 10th-place seed. Her time was 1:00.81.
A third Obama swimmer, Noah Jamison, 10th grader, did not qualify with an automatic entry to the PIAA Meet, but his podium finishes in both the 200 IM and the 500 free (also a school record), might be fast enough to earn an at-large entry to the PIAA Championships.
Noah dropped from 5:09.42 seed time (11th) to 4:54.01, and to a possible PIAA invite. At-large invites to PIAA are a couple days away. In 2016, as a freshman, Noah’s time in the 500 free in 2016 was 5:12.92. In 2017, Noah’s time in the 500 free beat the school record that was established by Erik Rauterkus more than four years ago. Erik is the oldest son of Obama’s Coach, Mark Rauterkus. Erik competed at the PIAA meet four consecutive years and then went on to swim at Swarthmore College and is due to graduate college in May, 2017.
Niksic, Jamison, David Donehue, 11, Sci-Tech, and Krishnan Alagar, 11, home-schooled, made up the squad’s 200 medley relay and set a new school record. The four also got points in the 400 free and put Obama’s boys team into the top 10 among AA teams.
This year marks the the 9th consecutive year that at least one swimmer from Pittsburgh Public Schools qualified to compete in the PIAA Championships under the direction of Coach Mark Rauterkus — formerly Schenley and presently Obama. Rauterkus also leads the Swim & Water Polo activities with PPS Summer Dreamers and after-school water polo programs at Westinghouse, Arsenal, Allegheny and Obama.
View a collection of swim races from this year’s championships at Swim.CLOH.org.
This is the time to plan for spring swim lessons. In summer, it is sorta too late. Let’s get our kids strong, and strong in the water.
In Pittsburgh, we’re blessed as we have the pools. Next, we need to keep up demand and get time in our week to use them.
See you Saturday.
See all four pages by clicking button at the bottom of the window holding the PDF.middle-school-handout2
Notice the improvement in swimming abilities.
Practices began in the fall and video shows various ability levels. In the first days, a few of the swimmers could swim in deep water. By the end of the semester, every student could swim a length of the pool.
These highlights focused upon freestyle swimming and ignored the water polo and SKWIM game play. The intra-squad game play was a valued element of the educational experience. Sadly, opportunities for competition with other school-based teams and water polo clubs did not materialize as planned. More than five “game days” were cancelled. Some swimmers did go to North Allegheny for a clinic and game play on a Sunday afternoon.
Background music was recorded from some parade sounds this fall while on a trip to New Orleans.
“Well begun is half done.” — Marry Poppins
Nearly 60 students jump into the pool on the first day of Pittsburgh Public Schools’ Summer Dreamers at Swim & Water Polo. The students get to perform in an routine that we call a “Show Off Swim.”
Lots are afraid on the first days as many of the students do not get to the swim pool that often. Our class is filled with beginners. The transformation into aquatic athletes starts with a parade shown in the video below. Do your best to swim across the pool, climb out, walk back to the start and try again. If you can’t swim, fake it, or else walk, run and hope.
Show us the best you’ve got. Get across the pool. Swim freestyle. Stay off the bottom. Close your lips. Float. Kick. Use your arms. Pull. Keep going. Try. All the way. Head down. Hold your breath. Go. You can do it too.
Summer Dreamers offers 27 days of “summer school.” The students get to swim every day, if things go as we hope. A few weeks later, all the kids are swimming across the deep end. They learn a life-skill. We have fun.
The progress and achievements that these kids earn for themselves in this program is hard to describe to the typical, non-swimming, school district bureaucrat.
In Later Weeks: Game on!
Swimming on the weekends and a skill for life
Swimming is a good thing