Beaverton says goodbye to a swim class hero
If you say the name Rod Harman within earshot of anyone who went to school in Beaverton during the past 30 years, it'll ring a bell.
Harman taught social studies for many years, but he was best known for having coached boys and girls swimming at three different Beaverton high schools during a career that spanned 56 years, during which time he saw eight state championship wins.
In 2012, Harman was inducted into the National High School Hall of Fame. That was his last year as head swim coach at Beaverton's Southridge High School, although he served an assistant coach the following year.
His poolside presence has carried on for years afterward.
Harman died earlier this month at the age of 93.
Those who knew him or were coached by him recall a "stern but gentle" man, who dedicated his professional life to inspiring and motivating others. Harman is often referred to as a "swim legend."
"Rod Harman was a treasure in our schools and community. Rod served so many generations of students and was revered for his passion and care for his students in the classroom and in athletic endeavors," the Beaverton School District said in a statement. "He was an accomplished coach and mentor. He will be missed."
Harman won't soon be forgotten. Beaverton's Harman Swim Center was named after him. A 25-yard pool offers everything from leisurely lap swimming to swim lessons for children. The aquatic facility is run by the Tualatin Hills Park & Recreation District.
Andrea Eckert, a Southridge High School alumna, recalled Harman as a regular figure at Washington County pools.
"He was my swim coach my freshman year of high school," Eckert said. "I only swam one season, but he was always around the pool, and when I became a lifeguard (at Conestoga Recreation), he was always at the pool. He had a very calm presence, yet even in old age, an amazing coach."
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