This has certainly been one of the most unusual semesters experienced by the William & Mary fencing team in many years. Normally, this post would be a recap of one of the many tournaments taking place in the fall. However, given that all tournaments are suspended until further notice, it will instead provide an update on how the team has been functioning amidst the pandemic. While this year’s schedule is obviously very different from those past, the William & Mary fencing team has continued to operate to the best of its abilities. The team has gained a number of new recruits with a wide range of experience, and practices are still happening this semester, albeit with new COVID-19 restrictions in place.
Practices are still held in Kaplan as usual, now taking place every Friday (from 4-5:30pm) and Saturday (2-3:30pm). As the fencing room can only support eight people social distancing at one time, they have been divided into 45-minute sessions in order to allow more members the opportunity to practice. This means that members must sign-up in advance every week, and there are only a limited amount of slots available. As well as that, masks must be worn the duration of practice, and the room must undergo frequent sanitation.
However, this has yet to deter the team, as new and old members alike continue to show up ready to learn at every practice. In line with new COVID-19 guidelines, bouts are no longer allowed, so practice has adjusted accordingly. The team now focuses more on conditioning and footwork, and getting in shape for the (hopefully) upcoming tournaments next semester. As well as that, the team’s recently-acquired targets have helped fencers with their bladework and point control. Remember, never sacrifice precision and accuracy for speed!
Though this semester was likely not what anyone had anticipated, the team has done its best to adjust, and the bonds between teammates and the dedication to the sport remain strong. Hopefully the fencing team will return strong next semester with regular practices and tournaments resumed; for now, please enjoy this unconventional recap during unprecedented times!