Saturday SKWIM School with Northgate and others

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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.

Entering Obama Academy’s pool

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Background

School web page: http://discoverpps.org/obama

1. Location

Pittsbugh Public Schools’ Obama Academy 6-12 is located at 515 N. Highland Ave, Pittsburgh, PA 15216.

Obama is at the corner of Highland Avenue and East Liberty Boulevard at the edge of the Pittsburgh neighborhoods of Highland Park and East Liberty.

Landmarks: The school is not too far from the Pittsburgh Zoo and PPG Aquarium. Obama Academy is across the street from the Pittsburgh Theological Seminary and a diagonally from The Home Depot.

Go Figure

Obama Academy is where Peabody used to be. In reality, Obama used to be Schenley.  

Map

2. Building and parking

There is a modest sized parking lot at the front of the school that is generally filled to capacity on school days. In the evenings the parking lot most often has spaces for visitors to park.

Parking lot at Obama Academy at corner of Highland Ave and East Liberty Blvd.

Street parking around the school happens on East Liberty Blvd and along Highland Avenue. Avoid parking in areas needed for school buses at the end of the school days. School dismissal times extend from 2:30 to about 5:30 pm.

Visiting teams should park along Highland Ave, on the street, heading to East Liberty Blvd. If necessary, drive around the block to face in that direction for curb-side drop-offs. The school parking lot is  suited for bus traffic.

3. Front doors

View from Highland Avenue. Front door of the school is up the steps in the dark hole in the center of the building.

Ramp from parking lot to the left avoids the steps.

Visitors enter the school’s front doors that face Highland Ave. Go to the middle of the building and walk up the steps or the ramp to the left.

4. Entry

The front doors of the school remain locked nearly all the time, especially when school is in session. At the front door to the school, there is a buzzer, a bit like a door bell. Pushing the button alerts the school security office. However, this buzzer won’t be helpful if the security folks have already departed for the evening. That generally happens at 7 pm unless there is a big event such as a basketball game or musical performance. First step, try the buzzer.

Coach Mark’s cell phone, 412-298-3432. Use this to get into the pool if the door is locked. We’ll send someone out to give you entry. Call. Do not text, as the text message won’t get noticed and you’ll be standing there for some time.

5. Inside

Entry into the school, just inside the front door, comes with a walk through the medal detectors.

Past the front doors, the office is to the left. Turn right and see the Obama swag and head through those double doors to get to the pool, gym, cafeteria and auditorium.

Hallway just past the cafeteria sports the Obama Eagles decor. A few historical elements from the days as Peabody High School remain in a couple of the trophy cases.

On the right are the doors that lead into the gym.

6. Final steps

Front lobby and hallway. Auditorium and cafeteria are to the left and gym and trophy case to the right. Pool doors and snack bar / student store are straight ahead.

The pool entry doors are generally open at night and in practice times when the pool is in use. Find these doors on the right side at the end of the school’s front hallway.

Swim pool at Obama Academy is with six lanes and 25-yards long. Pool has electronic timing and end-zone seating with pillars.

7. From the pool deck, more steps to the locker areas

Off the pool deck near the shallow end backstroke flags is a door that leads to the shower and locker areas for both the boys and girls.

Steps to the locker areas. Go down and the boys do a U-trun at the first landing and the girls go straight.

8. Future

Since the move of Obama from Schenley to Reizenstein to the former Peabody building, a number of basic building modifications have been suggested. We hope that the accessibility can be improved so that the school and its pool can a better community resource and eventually comply with the ADA law passed in 1990.

8a

The swim pool needs an accessible family changing room / rest room somewhere on the same level as the pool deck.  Presently, if anyone wants to go swimming, expect to go down and up two flights of steps to reach the pool’s showers, bathrooms and locker areas.

Restroom upgrades were made in other parts of the building in the summers of 2016 and 2017. In the summer of 2018, the school is going to be used as a site for PPS’ Summer Dreamers Academy. We want to keep the pool opened in the summer of 2018.

8B

A proposed new entry to the swim pool could serve as a conduit for entry and exit from the street and sidewalk to not only the swim pool but also to the athletic field.

The swim pool would be well served with an entry into the pool area directly off of the front sidewalk on Highland Avenue into a new foyer and lobby that is presently only a back door to the pool. A lighted, covered, entry that goes right into the pool area would offer higher levels of safety, security and convenience.

Underwater Hockey returns to the swim pool at Pittsburgh’s Obama Academy — Rookies welcome!

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  1. Wed. Oct 18, 7:30 to 9 pm at Obama.
  2. Mon. Oct 30, 7:30 to 9 pm at Obama
  3. Mon. Nov 6, 7:30 to 9 pm at Obama
  4. Mon. Nov 20, 7:30 to 9 pm at Obama

Obama is at the corner of Highland Ave and East Liberty Blvd. Enter school’s front doors and turn right. Walk past the gym to the pool. If front door is locked, call the coach’s cell: 412-298-3432.

Bring swim suit and if you have them, fins, snorkle, mask. But, we’ve got some loaner equipment too.

Additional insights and other dates and community aquatic activities with Coach Mark Rauterkus​ can be found at the Google calendar at CLOH.org.

NA Tigers host a Water Polo Tournament — without PPS Obama

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Once again, another fall sports season comes and the city kids don’t have a seat in the fall water polo tournaments. School and district administrators don’t care to support the program by simply approving the submitted pool permit requests so that the team can hold practices. Get this: Pool permits were put into the school in mid-August, and as of September 8, there is still no news.

Avoidance rules in some sectors of PPS.

Frustration mounts, even with the new principal and new superintendent.

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