Renowned Oregon Swim Coach Rod Harman Dies at the Age of 93

Legendary Oregon high school coach Rod Harman died on May 22 at the age of 93 from sudden Cardiac arrest.

Harman coached three Olympians and over 60 All-American high school swimmers during his career, and was induced into the National High School Hall of Fame in 2012.

His teams won multiple state high school championships, and he even coached two teams to win the state championships in water polo.

Harman founded Tualatin Hills Swim Club in Beaverton, Oregon in 1957, which went on to produce multiple Olympians and national level swimmers. Then, he moved on to spend 38 years coaching at Beaverton High School before moving to Aloha High for a decade and then to Southridge High, which all compete in the Oregon School Activities Association (OSAA).

An aquatic center in Beaverton was dedicated to Harman when it was built by naming it the Harman Swim Center. After news of his death broke, Beaverton swim team coordinator Joe Schoen commented “We are sending our heartfelt sympathy to all who knew and loved Coach Rod Harman. ‘A great coach is hard to find and impossible to forget.’” The school itself also posted to Facebook to honor their former coach:

With a heavy heart – one full of Beaverton pride – we regret to inform you of the passing of BHS alumnus Rod Harman, a…

Posted by Beaverton High School on Sunday, May 24, 2020

Outside of the pool, Harman was a dedicated teacher and veteran. He taught economics and history for over thirty years at Beaverton in addition to coaching multiple other sports besides swimming. He also enlisted in the US Navy during both WWII and the Korean War with the hope of serving his country.

Harman’s son Scott commented on his father’s death and impact saying, “He was the epitome of a role model. He changed lives in a good way, from helping his students understand compound growth to strengthening athletes. He was a rock star.”

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Scott Miller
6 months ago

It would be difficult to overstate the significance of Mr. Harman to the Oregon swimming community, and to the Portland/Beaverton area in particular. For myself, I can still remember the days when he coached three of us four siblings in age group swimming, beginning about 1970. He also coached two of us in high school swimming and water polo. My sister achieved a senior regional record in 1-fly because of him. I even ended up working at the swim center bearing his name, in 1982–it was my first job.
Thanks for this article. My eyes moisten even now, more than three years after his passing.

3 years ago

There needs to be an edit to this article. Beaverton High School did not name any center after Rod Harman. Tualatin Hills Park & Recreation District named a center after him in recognition of his service to the community and the park district.

3 years ago

Thank you Rod for giving so much to the swim world in Aloha, Oregon. You leave a legacy that will be remembered forever. What a privilege it was to swim for you. ♥️

About Nicole Miller

Nicole Miller

Nicole has been with SwimSwam since April 2020, as both a reporter and social media contributor. Prior to joining the SwimSwam platform, Nicole also managed a successful Instagram platform, amassing over 20,000 followers. Currently, Nicole is pursuing her B.S. in Biomedical Engineering at Worcester Polytechnic Institute. After competing for the swim …

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