Sport: A Sweep for Conibear

One day, nearly 40 years ago, shaggy-haired Hiram Conibear, ex-trainer of the Chicago White Sox, stood on the shore of Lake Washington and cussed through a megaphone, so loud that his University of Washington oarsmen could hear. When parents objected, Conibear confessed: "I have to cuss a little in order to bluff my way along." Washington's new crew coach didn't know the first thing about rowing.

Conibear read up on physics and experimented at night in his living room with a broom for an oar. He decided that the traditional Oxford style, in which oarsmen put their maximum power at the end...

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