Category Archives for Teams

Older Plans: Some things don’t take off. Past proposals: Tech Captains, AlphLabs, N@.

In June and July of 2008, Olympicpedia was held at a Sq. Hill cyber cafe and gaming studio. That business has since closed. We gathered there for a couple of hours in mid-day to pound on Wikipedia and got some computer enrichment. Perhaps the best of times was with the sessions that could be summed up as “supervised Battlefont.”

Other blasts from the past that provide digital dust in a trip down memory lane include a proposal for afterschool activities in 2013. It called for a computer club called Tech Captains. None of the proposals were acted upon at that time and the realm of after-school activities for high school students is still unsettled. The right combination of supervision, challenges, interest and leadership for a successful and thriving program is still a work in progress. Reading Warriors and Robotics work. The hope of grabbing technology, coding, LiveCode, Raspberry Pi and lifeguard / health education is still untested.

A departed friend and giant in the Pittsburgh high-tech community, Ron Morris, was fond of asking the hard questions of entrepreneurs about their past failures. He would say, “Show me your failures.” Without some stumbles, twists and turns along the way, and without the lessons from the School of Hard Knocks, he’d worry greatly.

It is fair to say, the sandbox of failed proposals and ventures within this quest of merging youth and technology in original ways is far from empty. Retooling is part of the process.


The third PDF is a proposal from 2013 that went to AlphaLabs, a state-supported incubator. It did not get funded.


Planning a fun swim and SKWIM meet for Saturday

First City Confab Swim & SKWIM Meet
Saturday, Feb 6, 2016

Hosted at Pittsburgh Obama Academy, corner of East Liberty Blvd and Highland Ave, Pittsburgh, PA.

Invited teams:
Obama Academy, confirmed
Oakland Catholic, confirmed
Central Catholic, confirmed
Pittsburgh Brashear, invited
Pittsburgh Carrick, invited
Pittsburgh Allderdice, invited
Seaton LaSalle, invited
Winchester Thurston, invited
Ellis, invited

Proposed time-line:
8:30 am, Set-up and event sign-in to begin
9:00 am, Warmup for Obama Academy and all other PPS Teams
9:30 am, Warmup for for Oakland/Central and all Catholic schools
9:45 am, Coaches Meeting on Deck, Medley Relay Entries Closed
10:00, Captains and Coaches Meeting on Sportsmanship
10:05, Meet Begins, Event #1.
Break, meeting, estimated at 10:45.
Break, photo, estimated at 11:15.
Pool play for SKWIM, 11:30 to 1:30.
Championship play for SKWIM, 1:30 to 2 pm.
Everyone out of building by 2:30 pm.

Event #1: Mixed Gender 200-yard Medley Relay
Event #2: Girls 100-yard I.M. (fly, back, breast, free)
Event #3: Boys 100-yard I.M. (fly, back, breast, free)
Event #4: Girls 50 free
Event #5: Boys 50 free
Event #6: Girls 50 fly
Event #7: Boys 50 fly
– Relay entries due.
– Break: Participants’ meeting covering SKWIM rules.
Event #8: Mixed Gender 200-yard Free Relay
Event #9: Girls 50 back
Event #10: Boys 50 back
Event #11: Girls 50 breast
Event #12: Boys 50 breast
Event #13: Mixed Gender 100-yard Free Relay
– Break: Remove lane lines and touch pads from pool.
– Huddle: Squads and tournament pool play described.
– Photo: Group photos taken.
– SKWIM Tournament (Counts as a swim down, not an event in the meet.)

Notes for Swim Meet and SKWIM Play:
All swim events are time finals, deck seeded, electronic timed with scoreboard results transcribed to event cards by volunteer timers.
Relays are mixed gender and include four swimmers of any gender. Relay squads can include 1, 2, 3 or 4 swimmers of the same gender. Any combination is okay. Mixed gender relays include participants from the same school team.
Each school team designates relays as A, B, C, D, E, etc. First heat of the event includes “A” relays from each school.
Decisions of seeding of relays and individual events is a determined at the meet.
Only events #4 and #5, 50-free, are eligible for WPIAL qualification times.

Meet scoring:
First place gets as many points as competitors in that event. If 10 people are in the 50 free, first place gets 10 points and last place gets 1 point. Relays are three times the value. If five relays are in an event, first place gets 3 x 5 = 15 points. Second gets 3 x 4 = 12 points, etc.
Each swimmer can enter a maximum of 4 events, no more than 2 individual events. No entries on the number of swimmers per team per event. The SKWIM Tournament is for all swimmers and does not count as as an individual event.
Swimmers fill out individual event cards for each individual swim event. Swimmers also fill out a SKWIM draft card to assist with the post meet tournament team play. Papers will be located at the school in the morning and should be completed before warm-ups and turn into the box at the starters / scoreboard table.
Coaches fill out relay cards.
Events will be seeded on deck. Event cards get a HEAT and LANE assignment. Swimmers pick up their event cards and report to the heat and lane. Listen to the announcer as to when the cards are ready for pickup for each event. After all the races, the swimmer’s time (or relay time if a relay) must be written onto the event card. Read the official time off of the scoreboard. As events are concluded, all cards are submitted to the scorer’s table for tabulation of the results.
Clipboards will be provided for every lane and timers will be needed to assist with the recording of times.
Results will be published the following day. Team results will be reported to the newspapers.

Insights on SKWIM rules:
All squad members wear the same cap. Water polo caps will be provided. Swim caps are okay too, as long as all are in the same color and different from the opponents. Water polo caps can be tied around the neck like a scarf if not worn on the head.
The number of players put into the game at any one time is expected to be 7 per side if playing in all the tank. The number of players per side can be adjusted by tournament director depending upon attendance. For example, in pool play with only a 3-lane pitch, games might be 5-on-5. But in the championships with 6 lanes, games could be announced to be 7-on-7.
Players in the game begin in the water on the wall by the goal/gutter they are defending. Those on the bench sit on a bench ready to substitute at the corner of the pool. Squad sizes should allow for a couple of substitutes. Substitutes okay, especially after a goal. Substitutes can be made on the fly in the corner of the pool when both players are present.
Running clock. Length of periods determined by number of teams in the tournament. Expect to play TWO 5-to-7 minute periods. At half time, teams switch ends. One minute at half-time.
A player can hold the disk for only 3-seconds then a pass or shot must occur. If the player holds the disk longer than allowed, the other team gets the disk. If a tardy shot or pass was made, the goal does not count. The other team gets the disk.
Players can NOT sink the disk. Grab it and lift it. Once a player has the disk, another can not take it. No physical contact with a player.
Contact gets the offender ejected for :30-seconds. Ejection time begins once the player who is ejected gets to the corner of the pool / penalty box. Any excessive contact or flagrant penalty, including trash talking to the official or opponent gets the player a yellow card, game ejection, or red card, a 2-game ejection.
All passes and shots must touch the water before a teammate can touch the disk or the disk can hit the goal gutter. Air-to-air passes and air-to-air shots are illegal and result in a turn-over to the other team.
After a goal, the game continues, much like basketball.
Games will not end in a tie. Sudden death play continues after time expires.
Tournament should include pool play among teams in various pools.
Squads must exit the pool after periods and games quickly. Next game begins 1-minute after the conclusion of the prior game. Teams that are late to the pool and teams that are not wearing caps are penalized.
A player may join another squad after that player’s team is finished with all of the games that day. So, a player who is on the team that gets eliminated from the 7th and 8th place game could join with school mates and play on another team for the championship game, if they welcome that player.


Team 1: Obama A
Team 2: Oakland B
Team 3: Brashear Mixed
Team 4: Pittsburgh Combined

Team 5: Central A
Team 6: Sci-Tech
Team 7: Carrick
Team 8: Allderdice A

Game 1: T1 vs. T2
Game 2: T5 vs T6
Game 3: T3 vs T4
Game 4: T7 vs T8
Game 5: T1 vs T3
Game 6: T5 vs T7
Game 7: T2 vs T4
Game 8: T6 vs T8
Game 9: T1 vs T4
Game 10: T5 vs T8
Game 11: T2 vs T3
Game 12: T6 vs T7

7th place game: 4th in Pool A vs. 4th in Pool B
5th place game: 3rd in Pool A vs. 3rd in Pool B
3rd place game: 2nd in Pool A vs. 2nd in Pool B
1st place game: 1st in Pool A vs. 1st in Pool B

In the example above, given each game has two 5-minute periods, with 1 minute between periods and 1 minute between games, the pool play of 12 games (12 minutes each) is 144 minutes, 2 hours and 24 minutes.
A short break will happen before the finals. Perhaps 5 minutes.
Final games could be longer or shorter in time.
To save time, we could split the pool and play games in only 3 lanes with a lane line divider. Then two games can happen at the same time. One pool could be in lanes 1, 2 and 3 and the other pool in lanes 4, 5 and 6. Then the championship games could be played in the entire 6-lane pool. Of course, double officials would be needed.

Individual Event Card:

Swimmer’s Full Name: ____________________________
Swimmer’s School: _______________________
Swimmer’s Gender: (circle one) girl – or – boy

Individual Event #: ______________
Individual Event Name: ______________

Estimated seed time: ______________

Meet clerk assigns heat and lane for deck seeding:

HEAT #: ________________ LANE #: ___________

FINAL TIME (put in from scoreboard after the race): ______________________
FINAL Place (put in by results coordinator): ________
FINAL Points: (put in by results coordinator): ______

Event #2: Girls 100-yard I.M. (fly, back, breast, free)
Event #3: Boys 100-yard I.M. (fly, back, breast, free)

Event #4: Girls 50 free
Event #5: Boys 50 free

Event #6: Girls 50 fly
Event #7: Boys 50 fly

Event #9: Girls 50 back
Event #10: Boys 50 back

Event #11: Girls 50 breast
Event #12: Boys 50 breast

Mixed Gender Relay Event Card:

Relay School: _______________________ Circle one: TEAM: A, B, C, D, E, F, ____

Event #1 = 200 yard medley relay, any gender – or –
Event #8 = 200 yard free relay, any gender – or –
Event #13 = 100 yard free relay, any gender.

Swimmer’s names:
First: _______________
Second: _______________
Third: _______________
Fourth: _______________

FINAL TIME (put in from scoreboard after the race): ______________________
FINAL Place (put in by results coordinator): ________
FINAL Points: (put in by results coordinator): ______

Good luck Pittsburgh at the water polo tournament in Cincinnati

The local players, with help from others from around the region, are playing in Cincinnati, Ohio.

The boys squad has two players from Texas, a player from Toledo, and a couple from Maryland too. Of course, Erie is well represented as well. Plenty of the girls players join the Pittsburgh kids from central Pennsylvania.

The photo above shows the two-time victors of the tournament from July 2014. Updates to this thread are expected with tweets from Moose Water Polo.

Score: 5-3, Pittsburgh up, early in the 2nd half over last year’s runner ups, Windy City. Two good teams. Windy City got the last goal on a 5-meter shot. Earlier goals came with the man-up advantage.

Heading into the 4th, leads 3-8. Goalies are the big deal this game. Both sides are being rock solid.

Game 2 for the weekend ends and Tigers up, 10-5, to Windy City. Next to the brackets.

Semi final win, 18-4 over St. X. Tigers to finals to play the team it faced earlier in the weekend in pool play and also in last year’s finals, Windy City.

Charles, the Tiger’s Goalie, is on fire, so say the reports!

Finals: Tiger wins, 13-7 boys championship game and claims the third title in 3 years.

The Garfield Gators are in the pool!

Today was a big day for city water polo efforts as the Garfield Gators got into the pool and began their quest for a new sport, water polo.

Practice times: Arrival at 11 am for chalk and tech talk with Coach Mark. We’ll cover skills, tactics, digital badges and use tablets. Then from 11:30 to 11:45 we’ll do dry-land exercises. We used some medicine balls, running, conditioning routines. Change and then hit the pool for a solid hour, from noon to 1 pm.

Weather permitting. This is an outdoor pool. If there is a storm, we can’t swim, of course.


Staff Efforts

Staff training happens today.

New Learn & Earn staffers are joining our ranks.

Jobs. Payroll. Being safe. Teaching. We have plenty to cover.

Water polo players, mostly staff, join with some others for Friday evening swimming, water polo and SKWIM games.

Water polo players, mostly staff, join with some others for Friday evening swimming, water polo and SKWIM games.

Co-op Team Forming: Pittsburgh Combined

Sports is about competition, but with a new project from BGC seasonal employee, Mark Rauterkus, cooperation is the prime goal. Students from a number of different schools are being recruited to work together to form a new varsity water polo program at Obama Academy. The key to playing well with others rests with adults at the respective schools, the principals and athletic directors.

An email invitation to more than ten different schools was sent in June 2015, in hopes of forming a sports team coop, a PIAA sports term, that allows students from various schools to play under the same team banner in high school competitions. Coach Rauterkus and others at Pittsburgh’s Obama Academy are familiar with squads that include students from different schools. The school’s football team, called USO, has U-Prep, Sci-Tech and Obama. All the Obama varsity teams, such as swimming, basketball and volleyball, can include the students from U-Prep and Sci-Tech.

Coach Rauterkus is the boys varsity swim coach at Obama Academy. His team won a WPIAL section title, going undefeated in its first year in the WPIAL in 2013. Home-school and CAPA students are on the Obama swim team too.

“We’re pulling together an new program that forms a bigger pool of eligible athletes,” said Rauterkus. Catholic schools, (Central, Okland, Bishop Canevin, Seton LaSalle), private schools (Ellis, Winchester Thurston), charter schools (Urban Pathways, City High) and other smaller public schools (Westinghouse, Brentwood, Wilkinsburg) are invited and are considering the co-op.

“Playing well with others is a theme that resonates with me,” said Rauterkus. “The opportunities for the city kids are often much different than what are presented in suburban settings. “With water polo, we can grow the sport and create friendships and better understandings among different groups of people.”

Presently only North Allegheny and two other schools in Erie field boys water polo teams. Pittsburgh Combined, a team hosted by Pittsburgh’s Obama Academy, could be the fourth.

Underwater player

Invites to join were sent to: Pittsburgh Science and Technology Academy, Pittsburgh Milliones 6-12, Pittsburgh Westinghouse High School, Central Catholic, Oakland Catholic, Bishop Canevin High School, Seton-La Salle, Ellis School, Winchester Thurston, City High School, Urban Pathways, Propel Charter Schools, Hill House Charter School, Imani Christian Academy, Wilkinsburg High School, Brentwood High School, Carlynton High School, Northgate High School.

For the past six summers, water polo has been offered as an activity with Summer Dreamers Academy. In 2015, more than 150 students get to learn to swim and play water polo for 3-hours a day for 28 days. Staff from many of those schools help train the students as employees, including more than a dozen from the city’s Learn & Earn job program.

The open letter to school administrators says, in part: “In past years, we’ve had more informal participation and called the team, Pittsburgh Combined. This year, with your okay, we’d love to include students from your school in a more robust program with more jobs and tighter relationships among the educational institutions so that the city kids can compete.”

Water polo seems to be about both: competition and cooperation.

See the letter and more at the Pittsburgh Combined wiki page.

Water polo for adults, masters, lifeguards, college players and varsity swimmers

The first night of masters water polo happened in Pittsburgh at a new location, Citiparks Ream Swim Pool in Mt. Washington.

Drive up to Mt. Washington on McArdle Roadway and at the top of the hill, cross over Grandview Drive and continue straight. Just after the first light, on the way down the back side of Mt. Washington, you’ll see the Ream Rec Center. The swim pool is not visible from the road. On street parking.

Water polo action

Water polo action.

See you Tuesdays, 6-7:30 pm.

Pay $5 at the door for adults, or get a yearly pass for all Citiparks pools for $30. Kids and veterans are less.

Summer Dreamers’ Swim & Water Polo Camp has squads

In the City, many of the leading athletes do many different sports and play various roles in the community.

Rohan, back left in the photo, played on the Obama Academy boys varsity volleyball team and competed in a final four match for Class AA PIAA semi-finals at Slippery Rock High School on June 2.

The boys varsity squad with Coach Pete Vitti won its WPIAL Section in the spring of 2015. That Section Win in the WPIAL was only the second time in city sports history that a “city league team” won a WPIAL section title. The boys varsity swim team at Obama Academy won the WPIAL section three years ago, also its FIRST YEAR in the WPIAL. So, first the swimmers and then the volleyball team enter the WPIAL and vault to first place in the maiden seasons.

With more year-round opportunities, more conditioning, challenges and overall support for the mass of the diverse kids and a diverse suite of programs to match — things look brighter.

A couple of the guys playing volleyball worked with the Bloomfield-Garfield Corporation at Pittsburgh Public Schools’ Summer Dreamers in Swim & Water Polo Camp. That’s synergy. Get the talent developed and supported. Then have those youngsters lead the wee ones in more fun in the weeks, months and summers to come.

A win today and the team plays for the state championships. Regardless of the outcome today, the city athletes who show up, are devoted to fitness and high-performance programs, and are responsible role-models are winners in everyone’s book. These teens are an inspiration for other, younger super-stars to come.