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Award tops off hugely successful year for fencers

Published: 5th April 2017

James Bryant is clearly a man who can handle pressure. Since he took over as captain of the Fencing Club last year, all anyone wanted to talk about was intervarsities. Specifically, whether the club could win the competition for the 10th year in a row to complete their ‘decade of dominance’.

“There was incredible pressure!” he says. “From our own alumni board, to DUCAC and Trinity Sport, everyone wants to see you succeed to the level they know you can reach. So of course, with that mentality behind you, you strive to meet expectations. There were times where everything wasn't coming together as planned or there were unexpected setbacks in the lead up to intervarsities. The vast majority of the pressure comes from the goals you set yourself as a coach, captain, or athlete.”

In March the Fencing Club won intervarsities and quickly followed it up by winning Colours, as well as 15 medals at the Student Individual Championships, also in March. Most recently, they have just been announced as Club of the Year at this year’s annual Trinity Sport Awards & Commons.

Clearly the club has gone from strength to strength in recent years, something which James attributes to the club’s structure, their culture and the coaching they provide.

Head coach, of course, is Colm Flynn. “Colm is Trinity alumnus himself and fenced with the club throughout his time in college, even achieving Pinks while here. Now he is one of the most experienced and qualified coaches in the country.

“The impact regular Colm, in particular, has had is immense. Apart from the obvious medals and victories though, there is a specific mindset that he brings. There's that drive to work harder, to learn from your mistakes, and to be willing to make the mistakes in the first place! That's the kind of coaching quality which sets him apart.”

The Fencing Club has big plans for the coming years. Over the past decade, they’ve put a strong emphasis on establishing a solid alumni network. They’ve also increased their community involvement. Next up their focus is international competitiveness and wheelchair fencing, according to James.

“I'm currently looking to introduce wheelchair fencing in the club to allow students with limited mobility a chance to test themselves in a highly competitive sporting environment.”

All of this goes to show that despite the ‘exclusive’ name fencing sometimes gets, “We want to reinforce the fact that it's truly a sport for anyone, a sport which a person of any athletic ability can get involved in and really enjoy.”