Category Archives for Creating Olympians

PPS Summer Dreamers — proposal for 2020 SKWIM & Water Polo

Check out the proposal for SKWIM  & Water Polo. It is being made with the cooperation of The Pittsburgh Project.

This is a draft, and some changes are expected.


Application for PPS Summer Dreamers Academy 2020 for SKWIM & Water Polo with
The Pittsburgh Project and Coach Mark Rauterkus


Cover Page:


SKWIM & Water Polo

by Coach Mark Rauterkus and The Pittsburgh Project


Activity Name: SKWIM & Water Polo

Desired Number of Campers Per Block: 120.

Desire only double-block. Desire 60 campers at Camp South Hills and 60 at Camp PCA.

Preferred Block Type: Only interested in doing double block activity. Transition time is needed to change into and out of swim suits.

Preferred Site: Only interested in holding SKWIM & Water Polo at schools with pools.

For 2020, this includes both: Camp South Hills with access to the on-campus pool at Brashear High School and Camp PCA.

On Site: Activities are 95% on-site, with the exception of limited, off-site/cross-site, game-days & water carnival competitions.

Preferred Grades: Grades 3, 4, 5. Older students are preferred. Grade 2 is okay, but less desired. We want the greater majority of the kids to be tall enough, to be able to stand in the shallow end of the pool.

Total Proposal Cost: $266.60 x 60 students x 2 sites = $31,992

Total Proposal Cost per 75-minute block = $133.


Descriptive Blurb:

At the always productive and popular SKWIM & Water Polo Camp, directed by Coach Mark Rauterkus, students learn and improve swimming abilities, knowledge of aquatic game play and fitness. SKWIM (played with a disk) and water polo (with a ball) are teamwork games. We race, dive and stress passing, defense, sportsmanship, water safety, goal setting, and online literacy. Plus,we keep an eye on the daily sports news leading to the 2020 Summer Olympic Games in Japan.

Cover Letter:

Coach Mark Rauterkus
Head Lifeguard at The Pittsburgh Project
2801 N Charles Street
Pittsburgh, PA 15214

412-298-3432 = cell
Mark@SKWIMusa.org

January 22, 2020


Dear Administrators and Selection Committee for PPS Summer Dreamers:


Students in SKWIM & Water Polo gain valuable, life-saving skills that can lead to a lifetime of enjoyment in-and-around the water, as well as future employment as a lifeguard.


Too many kids can’t swim. The number of deaths in the water, both a pools and in natural settings, are too high. The statistics report that the water is especially dangerous within the ranks of the poor, African-Americans and adolescent males. We need to teach all our kids how to swim and gain a respect for the water for public safety sake.


The Center for Disease Control and Prevention reports that drowning is the leading cause of accidental dealth for children under the age of 4 and second leading for children under that age of 14. Seventy-nine percent of children in households with incomes less than $50,000 have little-to-no swimming ability. Research shows that 64% of African-American children have little to no swimming ability.


Formal swimming lessons reduce the likelihood of childhood drowning by 88%. Furthermore, Summer Dreamers in water polo are always able to swim in the deep end by the end of camp, and often by the second week. Our high expectations and use of googles, fins, paddles, kick-boards, individual and group challenges and the clever e-course, Get Your Feet Wet – Swimming, zooms our progress. Many lessons and examples of the supporting digital learning are of our own show-off students, helping to connect the learning.


Knowing how to swim, and swim well, have so many benefits. Our efforts that advocate for more aquatic opportunities for kids includes the release of a list of more than 160 reasons why students should join their schools’ swim teams. This list (seehttps://swim.CLOH.org/why-swim)holds true for this offering at Summer Dreamers. The quality experience and the consistency of practices at SKWIM & Water Polo Camp rivals the rigor and excitement provided to those who participate in theirPPS middle-school swim teams.


SKWIM and Water Polo game-play acts like rocket-fuel for the overall experience. Game-play engages and reinforces far more with our students than what the races of competitive swimming provides. We race too. The values with the sportsmanship, teamwork and rules coding changes are wonderful problem solving situations to witness among the youngsters.


In 2020, we want to return water polo to the PPS Summer Dreamer line-up because the staffing situations have been resolved through long-term persistence and partnership efforts from efforts with a large cadre of others that include: Lifeguard Workforce Development / Learn & Earn, Citiparks Aquatics, Allegheny County Parks, The Ellis School, Chatham University, International Swim Coaches Association, American Water Polo, SKWIM USA and by far, the most important, our hosting sponsor, The Pittsburgh Project.


In the recent summers, swim instruction and pool operations on the Northside at The Pittsburgh Project has been successful. Capacity building efforts with staffing and procedures now allow for the necessary guards and instructors. We are excited to offer the programs again. Water polo was part of the first eight years of PPS Summer Dreamers.

Thanks for the opportunity to serve our children, again, in 2020.


Sincerely yours,


Coach Mark Rauterkus

412-298-3432 = cell

Boys, girls, camp coaches at swim pool.

Rohan, Toby and swimmers with Swim & Water Polo at PPS Summer Dreamers at Highland Park Pool.

Thorny issue of women and girls sports and the inclusion of trans athletes

Noel Plum's video insights

The debate over women's sport and the complex and thorny issues of what place trans-women and those with intersex conditions have within sport has been heating in some circles. Comments by celebrated athletes such as Martina Navratilova, Sharron Davies, Dame Kelly Holmes and Paula Radcliffe have shown considerable push.

In this video, Noel covers some recent events and tries to explain the present problem, thought to be completely unsolvable. The present labels of "men's" and "women's" sports events look need an alternative model moving into the future. Expect to see many efforts in the future on how to work to and to discuss various models.

Video hopes to deal with objections.

Abandon the model of dividing sport into "men's" and "women's" categories by

  • Re-label the "women's" category explicitly as the "female" category. 
  • Disband the "men's" category. 
  • Create an "open" category for anyone: male, female, man, woman or non-gender binary.

Bill Price posted on Facebook and calls this a meta issue

The topic is sure to affect all in sports, regardless of the level and age groups. He contends that the solutions presented so far by the IOC, NCAA, USA Swimming, and the IAAF (to name just a few) don't address the real scope of the problem. He posted that coaches "need to develop a deeper understanding of why this issue is causing such a ruckus, and why some are concerned about the future of sport."

Plenty of discussions swirl about on the YouTube page as well.

Other Links to research:
  • Caster Semenya takes gender rule challenge to sports court 
  • LGBT group severs links with Navratilova over transgender comments
  • Sharron Davies: Former British swimmer says transgender athletes should not compete in women's sport
  • Sports stars weigh in on row over transgender athletes
  • Why calls for athletes to compete as a homogenized group should be resisted

Read about the National Youth Sports Strategy


The USA's National Youth Sports Strategy is an essential resource for policymakers and key decision-makers in youth sports. It aims to unite U.S. youth sports culture around a shared vision: that one day, all young people will have the opportunity, motivation, and access to play sports — regardless of their race, ethnicity, sex, ability, or ZIP code.

Based on research and best practices from the scientific community and successful youth sports programs across the United States, it offers actionable strategies for parents, coaches, organizations, communities, and policymakers to support youth sports participation for all.

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