Category Archives: SKWIM


Landing page for Rotary Club presentation(s)

Mark Rauterkus was an invited speaker to the Kittanning Rotary Club on  February 28, 2018. These resources assist with interactions with members and other Rotary groups in the future.



Coach Mark Rauterkus joins us from Pittsburgh’s historic South Side. Mark has been a swim coach since 1976 when he started a swim team as a high-school-aged lifeguard.

He has coached nine (9) years at the college level. Mark has worked for more than 52 athletic directors and 34 principals. In his career, more than 10,000 kids have called him “Coach Mark.”

His swimmers have set state records in: Pennsylvania, Ohio, Illinois and Massachusetts.

Mark’s newest role: executive director of SKWIM USA, a nonprofit to grow the aquatic game of SKWIM.

Mark’s passion as an advocate in the city is expressed at CLOH dot org. Creating Literate Olympians Here.

Resources and Easy Courses:

Feel free to team up with a youngster for meaningful online adventures.

Advance insights with Coach Mark as your guest speaker

I’ll speak about my personal history as a coach in swimming and water polo in the city — and throughout my career. But, it isn’t much about me, however. The focus is on how we can leverage sports, fitness, wellness and efforts in our communities around the realm of playing well with others. Some of the basic understandings of the purpose and meaning of sports need to be put into better focus.

Sports are games of time, space and relationships. That’s from a book I helped publish years ago, Sport, Spirit & Soul.

With a philosophy and a few concept maps, we can make improvements and reform — as many elements in sports are in trouble and messed up.

So, I’ll talk quickly about some problems and how they can be fixed. And, how the wisdom of the group of those in attendance can make an impact with the community, teams, coaches, and participants — as well as with their own families — in terms of sports.

Likewise, I’ll leave with a few challenges and tools for others to do, online, for free, for fun, if interested. Q&A of course.

My message is a help us think again about sports and recreation from school age kids to seniors, spectators to league managers.

Projector if possible but not necessary

I love to present off of my iPad. Photos help to put more sizzle into the story. I have the various types of adapters, VGA, HDMI, and Apple’s Lightening.

Pop Quiz

As a way to be more interactive, especially among friends and with a smaller group, we can share our own remarks and move through the talk, guided by the questions on this quiz. Door prize expected for top answer giver, but I’m biased as to what answers I’m seeking. Most questions have no right or wrong answers, much like life.



  • Authentic Pittsburgh: steel, incline, 3 rivers, sports, ethnic
  • Favorite sports: soccer, hockey, football
  • Other favorable sports: hockey, football, basketball, soccer, golf, boating
  • Favorite team: Penguins (mid 2000s), Penguins, Steelers
  • Game as youngster: soccer, hockey, basketball, softball


Quiz Pre-flight for SKWIM Level 1 to Level 4

Test your knowledge, and the delivery of these questions and answers concerning aquatic’s safety and surf knowledge by taking these four multiple choice quizzes for a whirl. They are new and may need to be edited. Your suggestions and feedback is desired.

Every question has an opportunity to comment. You do need to register with a username and password. You need to take the tests in order.

Level 1 Quiz for SKWIM’s surf safety:

Level 2 Quiz for SKWIM’s surf safety:

Level 3 Quiz for SKWIM’s surf safety:

Level 4 Quiz for SKWIM’s surf safety:

Recap: Special SKWIM event at the Oliver Bath House and post-game open house was a blast

Our event and visit to the historic, Citiparks’ Oliver Bath House on South Side was a big success.

Citiparks Lifeguards and VIPs from The Pittsburgh Project and Mel from PPS / State Rep Gainey’s office, along with hosts, Coach Mark of Pittsburgh Obama and Kevin, SKWIM’s inventor from Washington.

Extended Game Video

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OPTIONAL Swim & Water Polo Activities: Downtown Parade

These events are optional and extra and are NOT a part of the normal Pittsburgh Public Schools’ Summer Dreamers events. Families are invited to participate in the following community events on your own. No transportation is provided by PPS. Questions should be sent to Coach Mark Rauterkus, 412-298-3432, (cell) or

Downtown Parade for Pittsburgh’s Bicentennial down Liberty Avenue, Saturday, July 9, 2016. Arrive after 10 am. Parade begins at 11 am. After the parade, play aquatic games at Northside, Citiparks’ Sue Murray Swim Pool, Cedar Avenue, across from the Giant Eagle / Sunoco gas station.

Tip: Our parade position and meet-up is going to be at Liberty Ave and 11th Street. We will meet behind a school bus that is to be decorated for PPS and the Pittsburgh Promise.

Tip 2: Park your car, if you drive, near CAPA or else on the Northside by the swim pool. then walk to Liberty Avenue and 11th, near the Strip District.

Swim pool
Northside’s Sue Murray Swim Pool has plenty of space for various aquatic games in deep, middle and shallow water.

Swimmers from Summer Dreamers with Athletes United for Clean Air are going to march with Pittsburgh Public Schools and the Pittsburgh Promise to celebrate the city’s history. 

Update: Due to parade protocol, the message for the parade is about Pittsburgh Public Schools and Summer Dreamers — and not about, “Go USA! Go Leah!”

Olympic schedule insights:

Cheer for Leah Smith and Katie Ledecki as they race together in Rio on:

  • Sunday, August 7th – women’s 400m freestyle prelims/final
  • Wednesday, August 10th – women’s 800m freestyle relay prelims/final
  • Thursday, August 11th – women’s 800m freestyle prelims
  • Friday, August 12th – women’s 800m freestyle finals
  • Prelims begin at 10 am EASTERN time while Semis & Finals begin at 7 pm EASTERN.

More Swimming, Water Polo and SKWIM opportunities in Pittsburgh this summer:

  • Tuesdays, 6 to 7:30 pm, Citiparks Ammon Rec Pool, Bedford & Memory Lane, Hill District
  • Wednesdays, 6 to 7:30 pm, Citiparks Ammon Rec Pool, Bedford & Memory Lane, Hill District
  • Thursdays, 6 to 7:30 pm, Citiparks Sue Murray Pool, Cedar Ave. Northside

* Additional events always published at the open google calendar at and USA Swimming’s Deck Pass can make LRNG float.

One of the avenues for obtaining funding with the DML Competition is to “augment existing connected learning programming with new connected learning resources and/or experiences that must be conceived of and sequenced as playlists that span and scale across organizations or institutions.”

The’s proposal includes a bridge from an existing program that has been operational for the past five years. USA Swimming of Colorado Springs started its Deck Pass program in 2011. Developed and maintained in-house, Deck Pass has awarded 35 million patches since it opened.

The USA Swimming patches are similar to XPs and Digital Badges in that they are bestowed to individuals based upon merit and achievements. The graphic patches form collections for individuals who have set-up free accounts with usernames and passwords.

In 2016, of USA Swimming’s 400,000 athletes, about 300,000 have Deck Pass accounts. Non-members can play along too.

Individuals can issue friend requests for messaging and revealing their collections to others to witness. A majority of the patches are granted on Mondays following the weekend swim meets and come automatically based upon a rules-based system that interacts with the national swims database.

Some patches have come based upon holidays, geography, meet standards and coaches creations. USA Swimming Coaches (30,000) can design and issue custom patches to connect with the swimmers: Practice Beast, Performer of the Day, Kicking Winner, etc. Some patches are geared for swimmers in certain ages and provide appropriate insights on the Safe Sports, Anti-Doping, Nutrition, Anti-Bulling.

Rewards can be tied to patches. One cool feature of Deck Pass is its ability to integrate with a phone’s camera and provide QR Code Reader interactions. A kid could get a patch through the application by attending the USA Olympic Trials and seeing the QR Code in the meet program or on a sign at the facility.

The Deck Pass program is growing by 20% a year and is especially valued by Moms OnDeck. Its purpose was to keep kids motivated, striving, and involved in the sport of swimming. The “cartooning” of the patches are not as well received with older kids so different tools are being deployed that address the more mature kids with a detailed focus on how to swim faster. The patches for older swimmers are less abstract in offering a cool reward, but the patches are getting more technical. The trend in the patches is to show specific interests in how to better perform. Data analysis happens and the patches can unlock a video series to keep one motivated. can build a bridge of connected learning assets that spans between the USA Swimming Deck Pass and LRNG.

Support for comes from USA Swimming Coach, David Scraven, Head Coach of Upper St. Clair Swim Club and High School in suburban Pittsburgh. Scraven, a former Standford swimmer, coaches one of the best teams in the region. Getting some of the swimmers at USC into the coalesce of a city-wide Varsity Club for working on technology can provide a way for city and suburban kids to reach and interact with connected learning, while playing well with others.

Other partners in the network have swim pools and teams, including the JCC Sailfish (USA Swimming Club), Thelma Lovette YMCA, Sarah Heinz House, Pittsburgh Public Schools (14 pools, 8 varsity teams, 20+ teams in elementary and middle school grades) and Hosanna House.

The Teamwork and Sportsmanship patches or badges offer some ways for early adopters to integrate and connect various systems and populations.

TeamUnify, another within the sport of swimming that support the proposal, can fill a tremendous role in capitalizing the opportunities for connected learning among the LRNG efforts and the patches of USA Swimming. TeamUnify has a times database too. TeamUnify’s app, OnDeck, fills other needs for parents/guardians, swim coaches and teams.

The short-term plans being discussed, should the funds from the DML Competition arrive, is to deploy the aquatic-related playlists by advancing network internationally. Those in swimming in Canada, UK, AUS, NZ, and RSA do not have nor wish to contract with the services of USA Swimming. With the robust tools and help of TeamUnify and LRNG, the international markets can be opened.


AutoCoach of Australia is another partner in the aquatics field that has exceptional, high-tech timing equipment especially geared to swimming. AutoCoach XPs are expected in the months to come. AutoCoach has customers around the world, especially in Australia and the Pacific rim nations. AutoCoach sales efforts involve the attending of many coaching clinics and seminars around the world, including the World Clinic held in the USA.


Deploying aquatic related playlists can be successful with the USA college-club markets. Building relationships with those sizable populations would avoid duplication of efforts and needless competitive wranglings with USA Swimming.


College swimming happens with varsity teams at the NCAA levels as well as with non-varsity, club settings. The club settings present a challenge, but also the best opportunity for wide-spread adoption of playlists and pathways with and LRNG hosted utilities. College Tri Teams would be potential advocates for playlists.

All the water polo players in the college ranks follow the lead of the Collegiate Water Polo Association and its sibling organization also hosted in the Philadelphia area, American Water Polo. American Water Polo is a long-term partner with our aquatic efforts in Pittsburgh and has provided a letter of support for

Spoken as a recent coach of the Carnegie Mellon University Womens Water Polo Team, I am confident that the college club water polo scene can benefit from certain XPs that have already been designed and are about to launch at LRNG. — Mark Rauterkus


Another strategy for advancing connected learning opportunities in aquatics with is to develop content for older individuals, ages 16 to 24, and then re-position these XPs and pathways within the USA Swimming Deck Pass framework. What goes into LRNG can also be tweaked and plugged into Deck Pass. Rather than beat em, join them. Let’s provide’s XPs to USA Swimming. The older kids who seem to out-grow the cartoon-like patches of USA Swimming’s Deck Pass might appreciate the career, technology, personal development and cross-training within The user-base at USA Swimming could migrate to LRNG with the help of the playlists and pathways of Furthermore, older swimmers with tech skills can begin to craft their own patches for each other and the younger swimmers on their teams.

AutoCoach makes sales call.
Sally Lee of Australia, visiting with a swim coach at CalU, to show off the merits of AutoCoach Timing Systems.

Aquatics, deep water swimming, pre-lifeguard tests, water safety, lifeguard training, SKWIM, water polo, open-water swimming, one-mile swims, sports first aid, swim instructor volunteering, wellness exercises and the Olympic sports are central to the network and experiences. Many of the competitive swimmers in the age group ranks might appreciate on-going structure and badges after ending their competitive swim team seasons. This makes a sequence to playlists at from an existing connected learning program. The span goes from USA Swimming (National Governing Body) to TeamUnify (swim business that manages big data for teams in the cloud) Deep_Water_Badge-0to LRNG with playlists, pathways, XPs and badges from


Sorry. This takes more than 300 words to describe the audience. Thanks for reading.

Last month, as many as 500 people died by drowning. Listen in to NPR.

This is a life-and-death effort. As kids learn to swim, they learn to save lives. The first life they save is their own. In due time, as the youngsters grow, we produce lifeguards and get certifications and jobs. This service to others is a responsibility worth the efforts of opening the swim pools and teaching.

Lifeguards are on missions now around the world, and in our communities, to assist with your safety and to help avoid bitter tragedies.