Fencing trio’s epic win puts them in the UK’s top eight

February 29, 2020

 Photo courtesy of UKC Fencing - from left to right Livi Peters, Carolina Van Eldik and Helen Grimsley.  

 

Kent Women’s First Team fencers made a thousand-mile round-trip to beat their counterparts from St Andrews in Edinburgh with an excellent performance in the last 16 of the Women’s Championships on Wednesday 19 February.
 

Carolina Van Eldik (captain), Livi Peters and Helen Grimsley made the 510 miles trip worth it with a 127-116 win.
 

The trio had an early-morning drive to Gatwick and jumped on the first flight to Edinburgh before renting a car to drive to St Andrew’s. 
 

“It was exhausting” said Team Captain Van Eldik. “We had all been up since 4.30 am. It was a long day with a lot of exercise. We were going in without any expectations. We didn’t have a full team. We rocked up, there was only three of us and there was like seven or eight of them”
 

All three are super-competitive and had come too far to lose. What they lacked in numbers they made up for with their “positive mindset”, determination and tactical know-how. 
 

Van Eldik explained: “We tried to pick our weapon order as strategically as possible. Foil is our weakest weapon, then we are particularly strong at sabre and epee.” She continued “We started off with our foil. We reached 37 points out of 45. Considering it was a small team without any foilists on it, that was pretty impressive.”
 

St Andrews’ individual sabreurs had impressed at BUCS, but Kent held their own with St Andrews taking a narrow 45-42 lead with that weapon. Kent were trailing but still had their favoured epee to come. The girls overwhelmed the opposing epeeists to finish 127-116 overall. 
 

It was a great day for Kent. Against all odds the trio had won, putting them through to the quarter-finals to face Bristol. 
 

“I’m really proud of my team” said Van Eldik. “I’m excited to see how we do against Bristol. I’m glad our journey was worth it. Overall it was a great experience. It was just such a good bonding trip.”
 

Kent Ladies’ have an impressive resume, having recently cemented their place in the BUCS Premiership supported by several accomplished individual fencers. Amongst many achievements, First Team Captain Carolina Van Eldik came 2nd in epee at the BUCS Individual Championships and represented the Netherlands at the World Championships in 2016. Sabreur Helen Grimsley ranks in the top 20 in Britain and recently began competing in international competitions. Epeeist Livi Peters recently came 2nd in a team event at the X-Systra Fencing Challenge in Paris.  
 

As Kent’s performance sport, the fencers have yet again proven why they deserve their top 10 position. The team continues to go from strength to strength, and there is little doubt that the team will bring home more wins in the future. 

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First published in 1965, InQuire is the University of Kent student newspaper.

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