Tuesday, February 02, 1993

Plum opens pool to water polo program

Tuesday, Feb 2, 1993, Valley News Dispatch - page B3

By Joe Starkey, staff writer

Mark Rauterkus hates to see a swimming pool with no people in it.

Rauterkus, in his second year as Plum High School swimming coach, couldn't believe the school's indoor pool lay dormant nearly all of last summer -- and he's determined to fill it wiht activity once school lets out this year.

In fact, he's going to get an early start.

Beginning March 16 and running through Aug. 1, Rauterkus will direct a water polo program at the Plum pool.

The Plum School board voted unanimously Tuesday to give him the go-ahead and Rauterkus can't wait to get started.

"There is a need to use the facilities herer," he said. "Last summer, we must have had the only pool in America that kept its doors locked all day. I had wanted to run an entire aquatics program here, but (the school board) said to pick one thing. I came up with the water polo idea.

"Hopefeull, it's the first step to a more advanced aquatics program. After it's finished I hope to go back to the board and say, 'Let's talk about some other things.'"

The obvious question is -- why water polo? Even Rauterkus knows it's not the most popular sport in the world.

"The standing joke in water polo is that you don't need your own horse to play," he said. "But I wanted something that might appeal to more than just swimmers on the swim team or just divers. And this is a good recreational outlet for kids in the summer. I thought I could reach a large population with this and have maybe 100 people or so get excited about it."

Once person ready to play is Plum diving coach Fred Luffey, who played on Franklin Regional High School's now defunct traveling water polo team in 1978-79. He hasn't played since, but is looking forward to the opportunity. And he says others are, too.

"There's a free swim over at Plum on weeknights and I've talked to a few guys there about water polo," he said. "Some of them are interested. I think it's a great sport.

"It's a great tool for conditioning -- a lot like baseketball. But it's easy on the knees compared to basketball or jogging. Plus, all you need is 15 people or so."

Rauterkus is countin on many more than that. He will divide the co-ed sessions into three classification: adults, students (high school and college) and kids. Rauterkus has projected 25 people each for the adult and student sessions and 60 for the kids'.

Most sessions will be divided into periods of instruction, clinics and scrimmaging. Robert Webster, formerly the head water polo coach at Harvard University, might be one of a handful of guest coaches Rauterkus plans to utilize.

Rauterkus claims anyone can get the hang of water polo.

"If you can float and feel like you can pass a ball to someone else, you might be interested," he said.

And if you feel like you can't float?

"Well, there is a shallow end," Rauterkus said. "And in the shallow end the goalie can stand on the bottom. Maybe after a few weeks you could build some stamina and be able to float a little."
This article will be put back into is proper place in time, 1993, shortly.
Plum Water Polo (printed in a box on the page)
Director: Plum High School swimming coach Mark Rauterkus
Begins: Tuesday, March 16, 1993
Ends: Sunday, August 1, 1993
Sessions: Tuesdays - high school and college students 8:30-9:30 pm; Thursdays -- adults 8:30-9:30 pm. Saturdays = kids 3-6 pm.
Fees: Adults, Plum residents, $20, non-residents $23; Students, Plum residents $15, non-residents $18; Kids -- $3.


Mark Rauterkus said...

Robert Webster, a fine swim coach, and I got to know each other when he was an assistant coach at UNLV. Then we were able to hang out together for a few days in Colorado Springs, CO, at the US Olympic Training Camp. He was about to lead a team of college swimmers to Eurpoe with a tour as part of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes.

Robert helped in one of my book projects as he was able to edit the book by Monte Nitzkowski, US Tacktical Water Polo.

I heard that Robert passed away a number of years ago.

When I was coaching at Plum, I was trying to lure other quality coaches to the area to help me in both the publishing endeavor (books, etc.) and to help coach, or be the head coach.

Mark Rauterkus said...

We were already playing water polo when this article ran in the newspaper. The team played some. But, we had some evening swim times devoted to polo too. And, many adults were already part of the program. I was suprised that we had more adults than high school kids even.

My sister, Mary Lee, played -- while she was pregnant even.

My brother in law, Dr. Phil Majewski, played -- with a pull bouey -- as he was without any body fat and couldn't float.

A few of the dads of swimmers on the team played as well.

Mark Rauterkus said...

Diving coach, Fred Luffy, moved out of PA a number of years ago. I think he and his family live in California.

Fred was an engineer.

Mark Rauterkus said...

Jay O'Neil, a young man I coached, is now a coach at SAT (Somerset Area). Jay played water polo for four years at Bucknell as well.