Sports: Revered swimming coach to be inducted into hall of fame

PORT ANGELES — Like father, like son.

Don Fairbairn will receive an honor Saturday morning that few sons can claim. The 73-year-old former longtime Port Angeles High School swimming coach will be inducted into the first high school swimming coaches hall of fame alongside his father, the late John Fairbairn.

The ceremony will take place at the 2005 state high school swimming and diving championships at the King County Aquatic Center in Federal Way right before the start of the championship events, about 11 a.m.

Don Fairbairn has coached several Port Angeles state champions and All-Americans during his 19-year career as a high school head coach. He also coached club swimming teams a few years before starting the prep program.

But Fairbairn isn’t giving himself credit for the honor.

“I want to thank the school and community, and all the kids who turned out and worked hard,” Fairbairn said during swimming practice at William Shore Memorial Pool on Wednesday. “Because of them I have been accorded this honor.”

Fairbairn also thanked his longtime diving coach, Jack Grantham. And of course his wife, Norma, who supported him all these years.

The hall of fame induction ceremony will have special meaning for Fairbairn, a 1949 graduate of Aberdeen High School, because his father — a longtime Aberdeen head coach — will be inducted at the same time.

John Fairbairn died in 1986, a year after Don Fairbairn quit coaching because of a heart attack and bypass surgery.

John Fairbairn, perhaps the top prep coach in his day, coached what turned out to be two future coach hall of famers — his son, Don, and Dick Hannula, a 1946 Aberdeen graduate.

Hannula, to be inducted Saturday morning, too, coached Wilson High School to 24 straight state titles and was a nationally ranked prep coach.

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