AM Swim Workouts are important


Aerobic exercise, or cardio, might be the closest thing we have to a miracle drug.

When we commit to regular workouts that raise our heart rate and get us moving and sweating for a sustained period, magical things happen to our mind and body. We start to think more clearly, feel better about ourselves, and even build buffers against age-related cognitive decline. Our lungs and heart get stronger, too.


Aerobic exercise “has a unique capacity to exhilarate and relax, to provide stimulation and calm, to counter depression and dissipate stress,” according to an article in the Harvard Medical School blog “Mind and Mood.”

Some benefits of cardio, like a lift in mood, can emerge as soon as a few minutes into a sweaty bike ride. Others, like improved memory, might take several weeks to crop up.

The reason aerobic workouts seem to lift our spirits seems related to its ability to reduce levels of natural stress hormones, such as adrenaline and cortisol, a recent study in the Journal of Physical Therapy Science found. Activities like running and swimming also increase overall blood flow and provide our minds fresh energy and oxygen — another factor that could help us feel better.

Without water, we have been known to still climb high.

Thanksgiving break with Pittsburgh Public Schools means five days without swimming. Sadly, the swimmers can not get into the swim pool. And the day before the vacation begins, many were already checked out.

When without a swim pool, we often turn to joint practices or else the stairs of the Cathedral of Learning at Pitt. Climbing the steps is a great, timeless workout. Often, the swimmers at Obama go a couple of times each year.

In 2017, our goal was to hold a swim scrimmage with The Ellis School as they had class on Monday after Thanksgiving. But sadly, they didn’t get the okay from Chatham University for our squad to join them for the practice. Next year, perhaps.

Those that attended got Jetpack stickers and a Milestone Pod too.

A small crew of players from Pittsburgh went to a game day in Akron, Nov 18, 2017

Akron Zips and Cleveland were fine hosts

Pittsburgh Masters Water Polo and our friends at Pitt and CMU were invited to a multi-team game day scrimmage at a great facility not far away, at Akron University.

Starting at 11 am Saturday, November 18, 2017, play happened to nearly 5 pm. with teams from Akron, Cleveland, Case Western, Ball State. A few from Ann Arbor, Michigan, blended with our Pittsburgh players too. It was informal. Refs were folks volunteering. The final game was an all-comers.  Sides were picked and play unfolded. Not much score-keeping in terms of goals and winning the games was happening.

M, K, J, K on the pool deck in Akron, at the home of the Zipps!

Kyle Ford was their organizer.

Ocasek Natatorium (ONAT)
402 Carroll Street
Akron, OH 44325


NA senior team visits the Saturday Swim School

A bunch of swimmer from the north got in the pool at Oliver as part of the efforts of the Saturday Swim School at Oliver.

After practice, we took about 10-minutes to introduce the swimmers to SKWIM and played a quick game, slot-style, to 3-points.

In the future, we’d love to get a cooperative alliance with ANSC, as we have had with Tiger Water Polo, so we can get employees to help as swim instructors, lifeguards, coaches and demonstrators at our events and camps in the city. In the summer of 2017, two of the NA students worked for us as part of the Summer Dreamers Swim & Water Polo Camp on the Northside.

Lesson Time

After the big kids departed, we had some lessons and on guy figured out how to make a monofin from the PDF fin. Two feet into one adult fin works! Your miles may vary. Patent pending.

Other swim coaches posted about the creative monofin solution too:

Saturday SKWIM School with Northgate and others

Wonderful time playing SKWIM at the Saturday Swim School with a nice collection of folks who supported Nick’s Eagle Scout project. It was a pleasure to help. Thanks for the snacks, and the donations raised are getting applied to supplies that furnish the next phase of the project.

group of swimmers at Oliver HS pool
Played 6-on-6 SKWIM. Photo after the first round of games. Then there were fun relays, Underwater Hockey, and more SKWIM.

Underwater Hockey too

With Dave’s help, a 4-on-4 game of Underwater Hockey was also played. He had the sticks and a puck. Kids had their own goggles. Some wore fins. Gloves were not used and neither were snorkels. Kids had a blast.

Games of SKWIM in different quarters and a different pitch

The game approach to SKWIM was different and noteworthy. We played slot style, so the disk has to go into the gutters. Good water height and deep gutters too. Two teams, 6-players on each team, one referee. Everyone played. No subs. All the kids were swimmers from a few different clubs. Team Pittsburgh, Northgate, and later a swimmer from PEAQ attended.

First quarter was played in shallow end across the 6-lane pool. Goals stretched from the ladder near the corner to the 5-foot marker painted on the wall / bulkhead. That was about 13 years wide. Quarter ends when the first team reaches 5 goals. Score was 5-4.

Second quarter was played in the deep end across the 6-lane pool. Goals stretched from the deep end ladder near the corner of the pool to the painted mark that read 7-foot. Again, wider than 10-yards. Quarter ends when the first team reaches 10.

Third quarter was played the length of the pool. One team defended the deep wall and the other defended the shallow end wall. Goals were from the mark that reached between lane 2 and lane 5. That was about a third of the span of the end wall. The third quarter ended when the lead team reached 15 goals.

Fourth quarter was played the length of the pool, again, but the two teams switched ends. Game ends when the first team reached 20 goals.

We had played SKWIM in the shallow, in the deep, and both across the width of the pool as well as the length of the pool. But today was the first day we played SKWIM and incorporated all three formats of the lagoon into the same game.