Hiram Conibear

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Hiram Boardman Conibear
Hiram Boardman Conibear circa 1910.jpg
Conibear circa 1911
Born (1871-09-05)September 5, 1871
Mineral, Illinois
Died September 9, 1917(1917-09-09) (aged 46)
Seattle, Washington
Cause of death Fall from tree
Known for Conibear stroke
Spouse(s) Grace Eminent Miller (m. 1898–1917)
Children Catherine Amelia Conibear (1909-?)
Parent(s) Edward H. Conibear
Amelia Boardman

Hiram Boardman Conibear (September 5, 1871 – September 9, 1917) was the rowing coach at the University of Washington in 1907. He coached both the men's and women's rowing team. He developed the distinctive style that became known as the Conibear stroke that "had an effect on the sport that lasted for 30 years".[1][2][3]


He was born on September 5, 1871 in Mineral, Illinois to Edward H. Conibear and Amelia Boardman of England.

He later graduated from the University of Illinois.[4]

Conibear began his coaching career in cycling. In 1906, working as athletics trainer at the University of Washington, he accepted the post of rowing crew coach even though he had no rowing experience and knew nothing about the sport.[5]

Experiments convinced him that the traditional Oxford style of rowing, involving a long stroke, was both unsound and uncomfortable, and he developed the new, shorter style with which his name became associated.[6]

Under his coaching the university crew became, in 1913, the first Western crew to compete by invitation in the Intercollegiate Rowing Association regatta in Poughkeepsie, New York, and Washington crew members went on to achieve success at subsequent regattas and at national and Olympic level using the technique developed by Conibear.[5]

Conibear died from a fall from a plum tree at his home in Seattle, Washington, on September 9, 1917 at age 46.[1]


See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Hiram Conibear, Rowing Coach" (PDF). New York Times. September 11, 1917. Retrieved 2009-07-31. 
  2. ^ "Hiram Boardman Conibear". Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved 2009-07-31. 
  3. ^ It is also called the Washington stroke and the American stroke
  4. ^ James Herbert Kelley (1913). The alumni record of the University of Illinois. University of Illinois. 
  5. ^ a b Daves, Jim; W. Thomas Porter (2 December 2001). "Pacific Northwest Magazine". The Glory of Washington: The People and Events That Shaped the Husky Athletic Tradition. Sports Publishing. Retrieved 2009-07-31. 
  6. ^ "Sport: A Sweep for Conibear". Time magazine. 1 July 1946. Retrieved 2009-07-31. In 1917, Hiram Conibear was killed (when he fell out of a cherry [sic] tree) but Washington crews went east year after year to win fame at Poughkeepsie.