The fencing club has been a part of Rowan University for about seven years and has grown from four members to now competing in the Mid Atlantic Conference Fencing Association (MACFA).
The next step in the club’s trajectory is gaining access to the women’s counterpart of MACFA, the National Intercollegiate Women’s Fencing Association (NIWFA). The Fencing Club President Robert Kerwin, a junior, explained how the club can get into NIWFA and why he thinks it can be accomplished
“The challenge has always been when it comes to NIWFA, in order to have a competitive team you need to have at least nine members that can compete,” Kerwin said “We’d always get five or six right there and don’t have enough to compete. This year has been very promising because we’ve gotten to the rate of at that threshold and maintain that threshold.”
One of the female fencers, freshman Nindi Georges, joined the team this year. Before joining this club, she never fenced in her life.
“I really see my growth within my techniques with how I fence overtime throughout the semester. At first, I definitely was a little bit clumsy,” Georges said. “I grew to learn new strategies leading up to my first bout. I was really ahead of myself and I could see how well I grew from them.”
Even though the club has grown within seven years, it’s still relatively new. The core value of the club is unity, Gavin Schweiger, a freshman, explains.
“My favorite part about this club is definitely the community,” Schweiger said. “I love everybody here, it’s always a good time. We’re always joking and having fun, but you get active and you get to play a sport that’s really fun.”
While having fun and connecting with each other is integrated within the nature of the club, over the COVID-19 period it was a little more serious. Since Rowan was shut down, the club could not practice inside, so they had to practice outside. Once it got too cold, the practices came to a halt.
Practicing is vital in any sport, but with a sport like fencing, there is no offseason.
“The majority of the competitions are held during the winter months,” Kerwin said. “So for MACFA, the competitions begin in November. Then we have another one in January and another one in February, and then another one in March and then April. There’s another event that we go to called the Temple Open, which is held typically in October.”
The Fencing Club is hoping to figure out how to get into the NIWFA sooner rather than later because, as Schweiger says: “Sword fighting is cool.”
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