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Harold Paulson

Inducted May 1995

Harold Paulson came to Maine in 1930 after spending his age group days as a swimmer/diver for the Worcester Boys Club in Massachusetts.  After a short stint at the Portland YMCA, Harold began at the Portland Boys Club in 1931 as Pool Director.  He immediately started the boys swim team and established the women’s swim association. 

In 1932, along with Bowdoin College Coach Robert B. Miller, he started the Maine Interscholastic Swim League for high school boy swimming.  He was also voted in as its first president.  In 1935 he became the Maine AAU League President. 

As the Portland High School swim coach, he began the 1941-42 season with 75 straight wins.  In 1944 he established Maine’s first AAU State Championship. In 1947 he established the New England High School Swimming Championships.

During his 46 year high school coaching career he coached some 26 All Americans, several National High School record holders, and several National Champions.  In 1950 he was the coach for Gordon Sellick, National High School swimmer of the year and only high school swimmer to ever be a seven event All American (out of nine possible) in the same season.  The 1950 team featured nine All Americans that set nine national high school records.  The 1956 team broke four national and 41 New England, state, pool, and school records.

He coached the Portland High School boys team for 40 years and the Portland girls team off and on since 1936 until he retired.  He was a long time High School Swimming League president as well as the New England League president.  His high school boys team was a 24 time State Championship team and five time New England Championship team. Portland High School was also a two time unofficial National Team Champion.  In 1978 he received the National High School Outstanding Service Award.

He coached the Portland Boys Club to nine New England Team Championships and four consecutive National Boys Club Team Titles (1948-51).  He coached four Olympic Trials qualifiers, Richard Lucas (world record holder in the 50 backstroke), Rachel Knowles, Gordon Sellick, and Patricia Scott.

Paulson also founded the Grammar and Junior High School Swim Leagues in Maine.  He was also the Maine American Red Cross Chairman and the National Boys Club Secretary for five years.

In 1975, the Mayor of Portland declared May 25th Harold Paulson Day for the city. 

The Riverton Community Center swimming pool is dedicated to Harold Paulson and known as the Harold Paulson Pool.

The Maine High School Boys League annually presents the Harold Paulson Award to the state's top swimmer.

Paulson was inducted into the Maine Sports Hall of Fame in 1983.