Category Archives for "gobama"

Running to States on the track by way of swim pool

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Runner in pool

Obama runner and state qualifier in the 100-yard dash, gets in a pool workout after city championships and before the PIAA T&F Meet.

Track star running in the pool with our home made drag device, a milk crate and an old bike tube looped with an aqua jogger belt, for comfort’s sake.

He goes to PIAA T&F Meet in two weeks and hopes to go 10.8 or so. He also plays football and is thinking about attending WVU, Temple, Akron, and a few others.

Dorian Jackson, city champion, 100-yard dash.

Welcome to Pittsburgh Obama! Handout about swimming for the incoming 6th grade students and families.

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Open Memo:
To: Obama Students and Families

From: Swim & Water Polo Coach, Mark Rauterkus

Contact:, -or-


May 2017

Just to be clear, “Swimming is the best!”

We hope you come to the pool and find out for yourself why this is true. At the end of this newsletter, we’ll provide you with pointers to our schedule so you can start right away. But first, let’s look at a few of the many benefits of being an aquatic athlete.

Over the years, members of the swim team have always been high achievers in academics. Swimmers excel in the I.B. program, perform well on the tests, and thrive in the classroom.

Swimming and water polo are international sports. Water polo was the first team sport played in the Olympics. We all know how well the USA swimmers have dominated the world stage in swimming and more and more men and women of color are earning medals too.

Swimmers get jobs. Many become Citiparks lifeguards and get plenty of hours with a good pay in a fun job, with lots of responsibility. Others get to work with our PPS Summer Dreamers and become swim instructors, coaches and camp leaders with Swim & Water Polo Camp. In 2017, we’ll be able to work on the Northside in the mornings at The Pittsburgh Project with 140 campers, grades K to 12. And, we’ll have 80+ campers at U-Prep and Allegheny (on the Northside by the Aviary) in the afternoons.

Swimmers play SKWIM and Water Polo at Obama too. Offense, defense, passing, goal keeping, teamwork and sportsmanship are all part of play with others in the city and around the state. Older kids get to play with Masters squads against college teams too.

Swimming presents a time to be peaceful and calm in the water. Jumping in the pool clears your head. It gets your heart and all the muscles working. The fitness aspects for the whole body, without head injuries, make strong bodies and give confidence.

Swimming happens at throughout the school year, the school week and the school day – from 6 am practices, to weekends to afterschool and evenings. We’ve got some flexibility. We learn time management. We learn to communicate.

The Varsity Obama Swim Team has some of, if not the best, athletes in the school. We have won city titles, WPIAL gold medals and this year, Sead, Class of 2018, set a new WPIAL record. Our top swimmers have gone to the State Championships every year for the past eight seasons.

We want your future to include swim and water polo experiences. We make friends and keep them for years to come. And, we get into and are welcomed into the best colleges, in part, because of the lessons. leadership and skills we develop with the swim and water polo program at Obama. It is fun, challenging and rewarding.

See for insights into Underwater Hockey, Water Polo, SKWIM, Open Water and afterschool activities. Kids and guardians should subscribe to the Google calendar at and our Facebook pages: Pittsburgh Schenley Swimming and Pittsburgh Schenley Waterpolo.

Middle School practices in the spring – but confirm with the calendar as some travel dates are pending:

4 to 5 pm on Tuesdays and Thursdays at Obama with Coach Mark.

4 to 5 pm on Fridays at Obama as part of a service project with Sead.

Saturdays at Oliver High School on the Northside, 2323 Brighton Road, 11:30 to 1 pm.

High school swimmers are encouraged to join us at Pittsburgh Masters Water Polo sessions and with the Pittsburgh Underwater Hockey practices too.

On Monday evenings throughout the summer, we’ll do open water swimming at Moraine State Park and expect to have a car-pool or van. Departing the city about 4 or 4:30 pm.

On Tuesday evenings throughout the summer, we’ll be playing water polo and SKWIM at Citiparks Ammon Rec Center Pool, Bedford Ave and Memory Lane, weather permitting, of course.

Volunteer spots and some staff positions for our varsity kids remain open for mornings at The Pittsburgh Project on Charles Street and afternoons with PPS Summer Dreamers Swim & Water Polo Camps to happen at both PPS U-Prep in The Hill District and PPS King/Allegheny on the Northside.

From time to time, we’ll compete throughout the summer. Watch for events at North Park.

In August, we’ll gather for regular practices and make a water polo team and enter games and tournaments, with high school, middle school, and even adult (masters) levels. Let’s get in shape this summer, do a triathlon or two, and get cooking for next school year’s success.

Feel free to call me at any time:

Coach Mark Rauterkus

412-298-3432 = my cell


Statement to the school board of Pittsburgh Public Schools, March 20, 2017

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statement to PPS-March-2017

Public Statements: March 20, 2017 to PPS Board and Administration:

Mark Rauterkus, Varsity Swim Coach, Obama Academy.

I lead Swim & Water Polo after-school programs at Westinghouse (Mondays), Obama (Tuesdays & Thursdays), Allegheny (starting on Wednesdays), Arsenal (starting Fridays). Our Saturday Swim School (Oliver HS pool on the Northside) continues from 9 am to 1 pm (most weeks). At 6 am I’m at Sci-Tech three days a week. I coached Manchester Academic Charter School at the Sarah Heinz House and help with Pittsburgh Masters Water Polo and, of course, PPS Summer Dreamers. This year PPS Summer Dreamers’ Swim & Water Polo is at King and U-Prep.

These activities are open to new participants, especially the Saturday Swim School. See my web sites at for details. CLOH = Creating Literate Olympians Here.

As we look to the summer, I’m going to be creating a new swimming, water polo and TRIATHLON team, on the Northside on Charles Street with The Pittsburgh Project.

Kids, adults, teachers, … we’re hiring. Some of the varsity swimmers help, but we need about 35 as swim instructors, junior captains, guards, and coaches. Much of this work happens with the help of the Bloomfield-Garfield Corporation, and I’m activity recruiting employees.

Apply at the link at

News flash:

Earlier this month, an Obama Swimmer, Sead Niksic, junior, set a new WPIAL Record in the class AA 100-yard backstroke. This is the first time a PPS student in any sport broke a WPIAL record. That news got a mentioned on the PPS home page.

All-in-all, our swimmers performed in brilliant fashion at the WPIAL and PIAA meets. After the snow storm, I took three of the Obama students to the PIAA meet. The Obama boys team finished in the top 20 in the state. All of the swimmers set personal and school records.

This was the 9th consecutive season our PPS kids from Schenley / Obama went to states.
Sead was second in the back and third in the fly. Noah scored 13th in the 500 free in his first trip to states as a sophomore. Amila, a freshman, dropped an additional 1-second in her backstroke, after getting 2nd at the WPIAL championships, having been seeded 10th.

Next news flash:

You, your spouse, coaches, swimmers, lifeguards, PE teachers, and all community members are invited to join in at a seminar and demonstration as well as post-game social to be held in Pittsburgh’s South Side starting at 6:30 pm on Wednesday, April 12, 2017, at the historic, Citiparks’ Oliver Bath House. Out of town guest include aquatic experts with the National Drowning Prevention Alliance ( and Kevin McCarthy of Washington state, inventor of the aquatic game, SKWIM. Bring your swim suit and towel as we will put our PA friends into SKWIM games with opponents from around the nation. We’ll learn about this terrific game, talk swimming, and find out what you might want to do to help get our kids swimming, more fit and safer in the water. We need to better utilize our facilities too.

After our time at the Oliver Bath House, all are invited to walk to a post game social starting at 9 pm at our home / office at 108 S. 12th Street, South Side, Pgh 15203.

Gratis Tickets / RSVP at

October Reminder

In October 2016, I came to speak. My specific ask was for PPS support for WATER POLO instead of GOLF. The Obama golf team had one kid this year and none have made it to the final city-league match in the past two years. We have dozens of water polo players, and we own the pool. This would be a tremendous help for the students, programs and district in many ways. And, as a switch, it can be “budget neutral.”
I made that request to the board and the top administrators because you are the ones that will have to make it happen.

I find it sad that I have heard nothing about this issue from any of you since then.

Let’s fix this for fall 2017.

New & Old Issues:

Furthermore, other matters, not well suited for public comment, need some attention. As we talk about district supported water polo, (we mainly need money for officials, some bus transit to matches and practice times at the school pool), we can share that list. This focused list of suggestions has many repeated requests from the past.

Fired up for the 100 backstroke at states

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Scoreboard photo above is from the finals of the 2016 PIAA class AA meet at Bucknell.

Boys 100 Back, seeded second, from Obama Academy and Pittsburgh Public Schools, junior, Sead Niksic:

Watch Sead Niksic, lane 4, set a new WPIAL Record, 51.29, at Pitt in the 2017 WPIAL championships.

Hint: Sead’s in the middle of the pool and his swim suit has one black leg and the other leg is a dark pink color.

Schedule for the 2017 PIAA Swimming Championships at Bucknell

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Subject to change: A new schedule may come from the PIAA by 2 pm on Monday, 3/13.

Various memos and insights about the 2017 PIAA Swimming & Diving Championships are here and posted below. All are PDFs.

Schedule of sessions for 2017

In 2017, the AA meet is first and the AAA meet is second. So, the AA swimmers and coaches check in on Tuesday, March 14, and compete on Wednesday and Thursday. The AAA swimmers and coaches check in on Thursday and compete on Friday and Saturday.

In 2017, the girls compete before the boys. So, the girls get up early for prelims. Meanwhile, the boys finals are slated to conclude around 10 pm.




Map of Bucknell



Getting to the meet is one thing. Getting in the doors as a spectator is another matter.


Order form for advance ticket sales. Each swimmer is able to purchase three tickets for the sessions he or she is entered. If a girl swimmer is only in the 100 backstroke, on day 2, then she is not able to buy tickets for day 1 events. Furthermore, a girl swimmer in the 100 back will not be able to walk on deck and watch her brother compete in the 100 back in either prelims nor finals. She would need to buy tickets and sit in the stands for those sessions.


Day 2 at 2017 WPIAL class AA Championships

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Boys 500 Free:

Noah swims 500 free. Goes new school record, 4:54.01.

Noah’s splits:
28.35, 55.05
29.89, 1:54.20
30.56, 2:54.56
30.40, 3:55.34
28.73, 4:54.01

Seed time was 5:09.42.

Girls 100 Back:

Amila Niksic, lane 2, She wins the heat but was the 10th seed overall with a seed time of 1:04.17 to a final time of 1:00.81 and second place, WPIAL silver medal.

Boys 100 Back:

Sead Niksic, lane 4, New WPIAL Record, 51.29

Boys 400 Free Relay:

Free Relay:
Noah Jamison= 24.32, 27.27 = 51.59
David Donehue = 25.59, 28.89 = 54.48
Krishnan . Alagar = 27.63, 31.35 = 58.98
Sead Niksic = 23.20, 25.05 = 48.25

FYI, OLD school record stands from 4 years ago, 3:26.07. In 2018, that record can fall.

WPIAL Day 1 swims from Obama Academy

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Some new school records!

Medley Relay: Obama is lane 6. Seeded with 1:51.11 in 12th and went 1:45.51 for 9th.

New school record, 1:45.51. 
Back = Sead = 25.04.
Breast = Noah = 27.45.
Fly = David = 27.14.
Free = K. Alagar = 25.88.

MSASports of boys medley:

Boys 200 IM:

MSASports of boys medley:

Girls 100 Fly:

Boys 100 Fly:

MSASports of boys 100 fly finals: