The City League is once again at the center of a positive new thing. Water polo, a favorite sport of Obama boys’ swim coach Mark Rauterkus, is turning into a citywide athletic opportunity. Rauterkus is currently working with Shaler Swim Club President Scott Harris, Plum water polo coach Greg Kinzler, and the coach of North Allegheny and Tiger Water Polo, Nikola Malezanov. Together, these three are creating numerous water polo camps and clubs. The aim is to make water polo a year-round sport in Pittsburgh.
One of the most interesting water polo evolvements is the fielding of a boys’ team in the Metro League. This is a high-level travel league with high school teams at the Naval Academy, Gonzaga (DC), in Connecticut, and in Ohio. The Metro League has its water polo season beginning in August and running through the fall. After it, players are conditioned and ready for their winter swim teams.
Rauterkus told Sports Town that a grant application has also been made to relaunch Summer Dreamers, a five week summer water polo program. The goal is to get more than 200 kids playing water polo at three different locations this summer: University Prep, the CityParks pool, and the Center Avenue YMCA. According to Rauterkus, the grant application has not yet been approved. However, the program was in effect last summer, and provided water polo competition for 150 at Peabody last summer.
Lastly, Rauterkus explained that spring league water polo is becoming available through North Allegheny. There is a current initiative to fill a team to play on Sundays throughout the spring.
“I think it’s really important for our kids in the City who are going to be joining the WPIAL to get used to doing year-round sports,” says Rauterkus, explaining some advantages of year-round water polo. “The suburban athletes get committed to doing their sports more than just during the season. In the City, we don’t always do that but we need to make our programs more competitive and give our kids more opportunities.”