PPS Middle School Championships

At the first part of the meet, an invite letter was delivered to coaches and guardians.

Letter to call participants to the new All-City Aquatics All-Star Team

Coach Mark Rauterkus

Head Boys Varsity Coach at PPS Obama
Executive Director, SKWIM USA

108 South 12th Street
Pittsburgh, PA 15203-1226


412-298-3432 = cell

January 24, 2018

Delivery to participants and spectators at PPS Middle School Championships

Dear Swimmers, Guardians and Coaches:

Three cheers to you for completing the middle-school season and competing in today’s championships. Hopefully, you choose to continue swimming, as we’d love to see you at 11:30 am on Saturday at PPS Oliver High School on the Northside.

You are invited to sign-up for a brand-new,

All-City, Aquatics All-Star Team!

First meeting and swim clinic is this Saturday, January 27, 2018, from 11:30 to 1 pm on the Northside at PPS Oliver High School, 2323 Brighton Road, 15212.

Second meeting and clinic is next Saturday, February 3, 2018, from 11:30 to 1 pm at PPS Oliver.

If interested, call, text or email.

Or, sign-up in advance at Play.CLOH.org/rsvp.

We are seeking 25 or more middle-school athletes, boys and girls, of any swimming ability, for this low/no cost program. It is a labor of love from the coach(es). We hope to organize the swimmers, guardians and boosters for an All-Star experience with specialized practices, coaching, training, and lots of play and competitions. We’ll swim, exercise, use technology tools. We’ll also learn, practice and play water polo and SKWIM, a water-disk game. We stress sportsmanship, teamwork, and conditioning with help of digital badges. Playing well with others happens with in-house meets and game-days — if we get your support and your participation.

Expect more information at the first clinics. Other practice opportunities in other city neighborhoods are possible too. Call with questions. See Swim.CLOH.org.

Boost your fitness, swim knowledge, circle-of-friends, swim speed and aquatic game-play so that you can become a future lifeguard and a stronger varsity athlete, in any sport.

Thanks for the consideration.

Coach Mark Rauterkus

Back of letter

Click image to see larger view.

Entry into Brashear’s High School Swim Pool

Front door of PPS Brashear High School is to the left side of the building. The middle school entry is different. South Hills Middle School has its doors to the right.
Door to the swim pool at Brashear. Look for the cone and smell for the chlorine.
The swim pool is in the back of the building.
Swim pool locker rooms and the gym are up two floors.
Brashear has two gyms. The small gym is the South gym. The swim pool is between both gyms.
Utility hallway near pool that connects the locker rooms.
Six lane, 25-yard pool at Brashear. The spectator seating is up an additional floor and in the end zone.

Entry into Sci-Tech’s swim pool

Building outside of school
Looking at PPS Sci-Tech from Forbes Ave in Oakland.

Pittsburgh Public Schools Sci-Tech is a city-wide magnet that serves grades 6 to 12 and is the former Frick Middle School.

* http://discoverpps.org/scitech


The swim pool is 3-lanes wide and 25-yards long. It is located next to the gym on the bottom floor and below the cafeteria / auditorium.


Pitt's Cathedral
Pitt’s Cathedral of Learning is a focal point of the campus. Sci-Tech is about 4 blocks from this major city landmark.

Sci-Tech is in the heart of Oakland and Pitt right off of Fifth Avenue, the one-way, main street that heads to Downtown. It is across the street from Pitt’s three dorm towers, next to a church and close to where the former Childrens’ Hospital location.

The one-way driving trick: Both of the side streets on either side of Sci-Tech, Thackeray and N. Bouquet Streets, are ONE WAY in the same direction, going down the hill onto Fifth Ave. So, to drive into the parking lot, one must go around the block from above from O’Hara Street and then drive down to the school.

Bus sign and Pitt Towers
Take the bus to and from Sci Tech. Pitt dorms are across the street.


In the day, while the faculty is present, it is hard to find a spot in the parking lot. In the evenings, nights and weekends, there is plenty of free parking.

PAT (bus) Transit

Building Doors

door of Sci-Tech
Front door of Sci-Tech. Do not use this door to enter the swim pool in times when the school is NOT in session.

For a swim practice in the evening, weekends and on holidays, do not use the front door. Enter the building from the door in the parking lot that is closer to the swim pool and to the right of the tall smoke-stack.

parking lot and school doors
Sci-Tech Parking Lot. The doors to the swim pool for entry on non-school day times is to the right of the tall smoke-stack.
Use these doors to enter the Sci-Tech swim pool.

Inside and to the swim pool

After entering the basement doors off of the parking lot, finding the swim pool is easy.


The swim pool is near the gym, in the lower level.
Hallway leads to the pool. Right side door goes to the women’s lockers and left side goes to the men’s lockers.
Locker area is used only for the swim pool.

Pool is 25-yards long and three lanes wide with deep end and starting blocks and shallow end too.

The pool is a nice venue for SKWIM games and practices. Coach Picciafoco is a retired physical education teacher and long-time coach at Frick and then at Obama. The teams back in the day had a dynasty of devoted swimmers, always winning the city league and often beating the combined score from all the other schools.

The students at Sci-Tech have their own swim team for the middle-school grades, 6, 7 and 8. When the Sci-Tech students are in the high school grades ( 9, 10, 11 and 12) they join with the athletes at Obama Academy. The Obama Varsity swim teams have students from Sci-Tech, U-Prep and Obama, as well as some home-school families if they reside in the U-Prep feeder pattern.

Dr. K has been the head coach of the Sci-Tech middle school swim teams since 2015.

AM Swim Workouts are important

Source: http://www.businessinsider.com/aerobic-exercise-workout-body-brain-benefits-gut-microbes-2017-12

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.