Women leading the charge at Mountains Fencing Club

They come from all walks of life - an educational designer, a university student and a graphic designer - and are united by their love of fencing.

Imogen Waugh, Alessandra Wollaston and Miya Chesterman are one third of the coaching team at Mountains Fencing Club, where membership has doubled during the coronavirus pandemic.

About one third of the club's members are female.

"I started fencing about five years ago," Chesterman said. "It's a lot of fun, it's a sport where you use physical and mental [skills] and it's very fun and strategic." She found the sport particularly beneficial as a stress reliever during her HSC year.

Mountains Fencing Club coaches: Alessandra Wollaston, Miya Chesterman and Imogen Waugh.

Mountains Fencing Club coaches: Alessandra Wollaston, Miya Chesterman and Imogen Waugh.

Wollaston fenced competitively as a teenager and after a long break, has returned to the sport in her 40s.

Waugh also took up the sport in her 40s, when her sons started fencing. "Playing with swords looked like a lot of fun," she said. She immersed herself in the sport and it wasn't long before she became the club's president.

The club runs competitions every year, and sometimes club member and Sydney-based pentathlete Marina Carrier, who will represent Australia at the Tokyo Olympics, drops in for a visit.

"She comes when her schedule permits. She came to comp day at the end of the year - there is a greater diversity of training opponents and great diversity of body sizes," Waugh said.

"To fence an Olympic fencer is pretty amazing," Wollaston said. "She's a positive force of nature."

Carrier is coached by Mountains Fencing Club's head coach Joe Raciborski.

The club is run by volunteers and is open to all ages and abilities and trains on Monday, Tuesday and Thursday nights and Saturdays at Lawson Hall. For more information visit: www.mountainsfencingclub.org.au/.


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