First Harvard Women’s Coach Stephanie Beilman Passes Away at 67

Photo Courtesy: Cathleen Pruden

Stephanie Walsh Beilman, the first head coach of the Harvard women’s swimming team, recently passed away after a battle with cancer. She was 67 years old.

Swimming was a large and influential part of Beilman’s life as she remained active in the sport in different capacities throughout her life. The oldest of 15 children, she grew up swimming in high school, before tanking her talents to the AAU where she swam for the Vesper Boat Club of Philadelphia and received coaching under Olympians Mary Freeman Kelly (1952) and George Breen (1956, 1960).

Beilman qualified for the AAU Championships in the 200 fly from 1963 – 1969, even swimming on a relay in 1969 composed only of her and her sisters.

In 1975 she became the first head coach of the Harvard women’s swimming team, a position that she held until 1980, while she was earning her college degree from Boston University. She also served as president of the National Collegiate Women’s Swimming Coaches Association for two years and traveled with Team USA as a manager/coach to multiple international meets, including the Leningrad dual meet (1977), Tel Aviv (1979), and Mexico City (1979).

Following her years as a coach, Beilman remained active in the sport as a masters swimmer.

In lieu of flowers, donations can be made in Beilman’s name to The Society of the Holy Child Jesus or to the USA Swimming Foundation.

To learn more about Bellman click here. 

3 Comments

3 comments

  1. avatar
    Huddie Walsh Murray

    Thanks for the article. Our sister Steph was a pioneer on many fronts, and she loved swimming since she was a young girl coached by Frank Keefe in summer league. We were fortunate enough to have all 15 of us together, along with our mother – Dad passed away in 2013 – just before Steph passed away. She will be missed by many who called her a friend. Swimming has lost a devoted advocate.

Author: Taylor Brien

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Taylor Brien is the Circulation and Operations Manager at Swimming World. A native of Bettendorf, IA and a 2015 graduate of Illinois College, she has covered a variety of events since joining the SW team in 2015, including the NCAA Championships, World Championships, Olympic Trials, and 2016 Rio Olympic Games.

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