Fencing for England

Congratulations to one of our LIV athletes, Sarah, who has recently been selected to join the England U13 Epee Fencing Squad. The team is training to compete in the Challenge Wratislavia, an international fencing competition in Wroclaw, Poland in March 2017.

Sarah talks about her fencing career below.

How did your fencing career begin?

I came into fencing by accident. My older brother would take an afternoon fencing class at our local gym and I would often watch from the sidelines while I was waiting for my swimming lessons. One day the coach asked me to join in and so I did!

What is your first fencing memory?

My coach introduced me to a game designed to test your reflexes called “catching the glove”. A fencing glove was dropped and I had to catch it before it hit the ground. It sounds simple, but it's not as easy as it sounds or looks! I surprised myself, my coach and especially my older brother by picking up the skills so quickly. From then on, I was included in the footwork exercises and finally permitted to hold a blade.

What are the key skills associated with fencing?

The sport requires a great level of fitness, focus and strategy (and of course, practise). Before coming to Wycombe Abbey, I trained six to seven each week with a fencing club. Getting in the required practise has been a little more challenging since starting secondary school, but I get great support from the Wycombe fencing coaches.

How often do you compete?

I try to participate in as many competitions as I can while balancing my school work and other school sporting commitments. I travel around England to compete, often in Manchester, Sheffield or London.

In the lead up to Challenge Wratislavia in March, what is your training programme likely to consist of?

Over Christmas, I am attending a fencing camp in London along with the Japanese International Youth Team. In the New Year, training at school will resume accompanied by weekend training with the England Youth Development squad. I plan to gain as much competitive experience as possible before March to ensure I am in the best possible position going into the Challenge Wratislavia event.

What do you enjoy most about fencing?

When you fence, you compete individually, however you are representing a team. I have really enjoyed the camaraderie of the Wycombe fencing team, and I look forward to building similar relationships with my teammates on the England squad.

What are you most excited about for the season ahead?

As excited as I am to go to Poland, I am just as proud to have earned my England stripes. These stripes go down the sides of fencing breeches and mark you out as a member of the England squad. I can't wait to represent my country in Poland. It will be an honour and very exciting after many years of training and competition. I look forward to the challenge of competing against people from all over the world.