Vivo Fencer Profile: Andrew Coughlan
How old are you now and when did you start fencing? I am 14 now and have been fencing since I was 10.
What first got you interested in fencing? My friend, Benji, encouraged me to try it. Once I did, I developed a strong passion for the sport. My right arm was paralyzed at birth and still doesn’t straighten all the way. I tried some other sports, but had difficulty because of it. Fencing is a sport where that doesn’t matter.
How often each week do you fence at Vivo? 3-5 times per week.
At 14, you fence with the elite fencers at Vivo. Which part of the fencing classes do you like best and why? I like the footwork portion of the classes best because that is my weakest area, and also the area I feel I can gain the most improvement.
What part of open fencing do you like best? During open fencing, I fence people of all different ages, styles, and abilities. This helps prepare me to deal with the wide variety of people I would encounter during competitions.
Do you think that your fencing benefits you beyond your involvement in the sport? Yes. I feel fencing helps my reaction time, stamina, coordination, and balance. In addition, I have become a bit more outgoing since I am meeting so many people through competitions and open fencing.
What is like competing in OPEN competitions with older fencers? When I first started fencing adults I thought they would be so much better than me. Now I realize that age doesn’t matter. It’s all about their experience.
What advice would you give to younger fencers just starting out at Vivo? Don’t give up. Listen to the coaches. Try to practice in areas that you need to improve upon even if other areas are more enjoyable to you.
What do you like best about Vivo? What I like best about Vivo is the camaraderie in class and especially at the competitions. Even though you may be in an individual event, and possibly even competing against each other, everyone from Vivo will cheer you on, give you advice, and usually stay to the end even if they are no longer competing.