Jim Hibbs & Dr. Siobhan Duff
For this active duo, rowing is more than just a shared hobby – it’s a way of life. While they’ve each won championships, broken records, and been inducted into the hall of fame, the greatest thing they’ve gained from their time on the water is a sense of mutual respect and admiration.
CS: How did you two meet?
SD: There’s a unique event called the Royal St. John’s Regatta in our hometown in Canada – six-seat boats with no sliding seats. We were both involved in that regatta for years, which is how we met.
JH: The sport definitely brought us together. I had probably been rowing for 10 or 12 years at the time we met, and it was another seven or eight years before we officially became a couple.
CS: How did you both get involved in rowing?
JH: As a kid, I went from a swimming career to a hockey career, and then at 16, I tried rowing for the first time. I lived a quarter mile from the lake, and rowing is hugely popular up there, so we put a juvenile crew together one summer. I fell in love and here we are!
SD: For me, it was recommended by a friend. It’s the biggest community participated sport in the area, and my friend said, ‘Hey, you’d like this!’ so I gave it a shot.
CS: What is it like to train and race together? Is it helpful to have a partner to push you?
JH: Sometimes yes, sometimes not so much [laughs]. We tend to push each other to make sure we both get a good workout in, but we always know how to recognize when the other is tired and may need a bit of a break.
SD: Jim and I both have very strong personalities, and masters rowing tends to not have hands-on coaching, so we’re coaching from within the boat. People joke that a mixed double is called a divorce boat, so we avoid that and stick to larger boats [laughs]. Racing and training together, we’re spending a lot of time under tense circumstances, but it has never been an issue for us. We get up at 5 o’clock or 6 o’clock in the morning to row. You have to have someone equally as passionate to make that sort of scenario work.
CS: What benefits have you gained in your relationship from this common interest?
SD: Beyond our health, the fact that we’re doing the same thing creates less conflict. We both understand the insanity of what we do. We can look at each other, understand each other, and support each other.
(above) photo by Rich Smith