Catching Up With: Chip McKibben

Steve Virgen

Though he has retired from competitive rowing, Chip McKibben still

manages to "make" the Olympics, but it's all for the horses.


McKibben, who was a member of the 1992 U.S. Olympic quadruple sculling

team that finished eighth, serves as the General Manager for Blenheim

Farms, which hosted the 2000 U.S. Olympic Trials for equestrian.

"I'm far more of a water baby," said McKibben, who won a world

championship in 1994 on U.S. Rowing's leading boat. "This is just the

business side of things."

McKibben, a 1983 graduate of Corona del Mar High, still rows

frequently, but his work has become his passion.

He spends most of the days of the week at Blenheim Farms in San Juan

Capistrano, where he oversees the daily routine of the equestrian center.

Aside from the horses, McKibben also works in mortgage banking for

R.J. Brandis, who in 1998 purchased Blenheim.

Added on to the many hats of his life, McKibben also devotes time to

the Newport Aquatic Center, as he serves on the board of directors.

"It's so funny," McKibben said of how much his life has changed. "I

definitely feel like I've put on civilian clothes and I'm building a


His rowing experiences throughout his life have helped him become

successful in his career, he said. He made the Olympic team after

sculling for only eight months. That type of experience has also inspired

his workload today.

"After rowing you really learn how to apply yourself and you learn how

to do it seriously," said McKibben, who was Orange Coast College's

Oarsman of the Year in 1997. "(Rowing) taught me how to jump in with both


If that's the case, rowing has also applied to his love life. After

meeting Lisa Corbett three years ago at a volleyball tournament in

Mexico, McKibben and his girl from Australia married in December.

"We got married on the Sunshine Coast in Australia, in the church that

her parents got married in," said McKibben, who lives with Lisa on Balboa

Island. "It was great."

Even as he has packed his life with work and the responsibility of a

marriage, McKibben still hungers for competition. To fulfill those needs,

he and his friend, Mitch Kahn, enter lifeguard competitions. In their

most recent race, they represented Los Angeles County and finished fourth

out of 50 competitors.

McKibben and Kahn raced 12 times this summer competing in the two-man

dories, which incudes a bit of a surf element.

"It really forces you to be a lot more athletic," McKibben said. "It's

fun and it's challenging."

They will race again in October.

And when he's not racing, McKibben continues to row. At least once a

week, he rows with his Olympic buddies. They row out of the Back Bay at

the NAC.

He shares those times on the water with Kurt Fleming and Bruce Ibbeson

from the 1984 Olympics. McKibben is not trying to recapture his

competitive days, but he still misses those rewarding memories.

"I still know the majority of the guys who were in the Olympics,"

McKibben said. "I miss the racing and the camaraderie. I don't miss the

training. I get excited for them for what they get to do."

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