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".
was born on September 5, 1871 in Mineral, Illinois to Edward H. Conibear and Amelia Boardman of England.
later graduated from the University of Illinois.
Conibear was hired by the University of Washington as a trainer for
the football and track teams because of his work in that field at the universities of Chicago, Illinois, and Montana and as
head trainer for the Chicago White Sox baseball team. His knowledge of rowing was slight, but he assumed the responsibility
of coaching the team and learned the sport through extensive reading, observation, and motion-study experiments with laboratory
skeletons. His rowing style stressed physical training and was based on leg drive. He produced teams noted for their strength
and stamina that won six California-Washington races in seven years. He was also interested in the design of racing boats
and worked with the Pocock brothers of British Columbia (later of Seattle) in building competitive shells.
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.
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.
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.
Conibear died from a fall from a plum tree at his home in Seattle, Washington on September
9, 1917 at age 46.