Thursday, March 06, 2014

Fwd: New flash... Swimming coverage in the Obama Eagle

From: Lucy Newman
Subject: New flash...
 Team and coach after WPIAL meet, 2014.

Last Thursday and Friday, Yoka Rooney competed in the PIAA state qualifying meet for swimming, qualifying in both the 50 free and the 100 breast.

This year he set two school records in individual races, and was in a relay that set another. He beat the previous best time for a 50 free with a 22.49. Also, he beat his own school record in the 100 breast with a 1:02.

“I feel really good,” he says. “I was surprised, actually. I feel really happy that I’ll get to go at least once in my high school career. And I’m really excited to see the competition that I get to meet at states.”

Yoka’s coach, Mr. Rauterkus, was proud of him, too. “Yoka has always been a valuable team contributor,” says Coach Rauterkus, “but this year, with the extra year of maturity, we got to see what I call, ‘senior speed.’ He is fast, strong and a gifted athlete. Besides swimming he was a starting defensive player on the soccer team, a lifeguard and ran the Great Race.”

Yoka's appearance at Bucknell University's pool marks the fifth consecutive appearance of an Obama or Schenley swimmer at the PIAA CHampionships, says swim coach Mark Rauterkus.

Describing his experience, Yoka says that “The first one, I knew I was going to destroy because the other swimmers in my heat had lower qualifying times than I did. So I just went all out and didn’t breathe the whole time. That was a 50 free. On the 100 breast, I was aiming for 1:03. I beat that, beating my best time by almost two seconds. I was really happy to place.”

Yoka competed in four events, getting ninth place in all four of them. He was somewhat disappointed not to get any medals, which are awarded to the top eight swimmers in each event, so goal is to get a medal at States.

Yoka says that he has not decided yet whether or not he’ll swim in college. Coach Rauterkus says that “Yoka went fast enough at the WPIAL meet to be strongly considered for college swim scholarships. College coaches are approaching me wanting Yoka to visit their schools.” Yoka sees swimming scholarships as a big draw. But he is also a talented and successful soccer player, so he’s trying to leave his options open at this point.

Looking back on his high school career, Yoka has positive memories of the swim team. Last year he was a part of two relays that set all-time PPS records, going faster than the old city league records and faster than any Pittsburgh team in any championship relays in any year ever. “It was a really fun team,” he says. ‘It wasn’t super competitive at first, but in the past two years it has become more competitive, and I really enjoyed that. It’s also just a really healthy sport to be able to do, and it teaches you important leadership skills. I definitely feel like I benefitted from these past four years.”

The PIAA state competition will take place on Friday, March 14 and Saturday, March 15. Best of wishes to Yoka.

More notes:

-- Given his performances, I think Yoka is the best athlete in the school.

-- Yoka beat Tait Williams time in the 50 free from STATES a few years ago when Obama was in the City League. 

-- Our boys 200 medley relay, 1:47.49, school record, had Yoka doing the Breastroke. It had three seniors and a sophomore: Ben Friedman, back; Yoka, breast; Grant Rauterkus, fly; and Tommy Brewton, free. We will miss those three gentlemen for next year's team.

-- Going to the state meet in two events is a huge accomplishment especially with the huge struggles we must navigate with aquatics in the school, with his other sports, activities and jobs. Yoka's appearance at Bucknell University's pool marks the fifth consecutive appearance of an Obama or Schenley swimmer at the PIAA Championships. 

Tommy, Ben, Grant, Yoka.

1 comment:

Mark Rauterkus said...