UC San Diego Women's Fencing team has established itself as one of the top
programs on the West Coast with six consecutive Intercollegiate Fencing
Conference of Southern California (IFCSC) titles. One of the key contributors
to the recent portion of that streak has been senior Amy Bianchini, a political
science major at Roosevelt College. The owner of a national "B" rating, Bianchini is also captain of the epee squad
for Head Coach Heidi Runyan. "Amy is an outstanding strategist on
the strip. She understands her opponents' intentions and uses that to her
advantage," says Runyan. "But beyond that, she's also an exceptional squad
leader. Her interpersonal skills allow her to work hand-in-hand effectively with
both the coaching staff and teammates." Following the recent NCAA West
Invitational at UCSD, the San Diego native took time to talk in depth about her
Q-When did you become
interested in fencing and what spurred your interest?
BIANCHINI-I started fencing when I was 13. I had ice skated for seven years and
was looking to find a new sport because I was getting burned out. My mom told me about fencing and at the
time, I thought it was pretty nerdy. I decided to try it out and ended up
Q-Do any other members
of your family fence?
BIANCHINI-My dad fences saber. He just started last
year and he's already won two national medals in the veteran's category. We have a friendly rivalry now that he
has one more national medal than I do.
Q-What role did
fencing play in your decision to attend UCSD?
BIANCHINI -Fencing played a huge role in my
decision to attend UCSD. I knew I
wanted to compete in a sport in college, so I wanted to go to a school that had
Q-Your specialty is
epee. What distinguishes epee from
other weapons and what has made you adept in this discipline?
BIANCHINI -The rules in epee are much different
than those in saber and foil and it's really shaped how people fence in their
respective weapons. I think epee
rules are much less complicated and easier for spectators to understand. There are no "right of way" rules,
which can sometimes make it difficult for a spectator to understand who got the
touch in a saber or foil bout. epee
bouts tend to last longer than bouts in saber and foil. I think my stamina and patience has
really helped me fence well in epee.
Q-In what aspect has
your fencing improved the most since joining the UCSD team?
BIANCHINI -My fencing has changed substantially,
and I would say that I've learned better training skills. I've also learned a lot about proper
mindset during competition. Fencing can be very psychological and finding the
right mindset during a tournament can be crucial.
Q-Compared to other
sports how frequently are fencers injured? Have you ever suffered a serious
injury in fencing?
BIANCHINI -I think fencers suffer fewer injuries
than the average competitive athlete. I've heard stories about serious accidents that happen
every few years in fencing, but these tend to be very rare. I've never been seriously injured while
fencing. When I was ice skating I
would see people get seriously injured all of the time. It's enjoyable to be
able to compete in a sport with such a low risk of injury.
Q-Did you play any
other sports in high school?
BIANCHINI -I was captain of the JV tennis team. That was a lot of fun. My dad taught me to play tennis when I
Q-What other sports do
you enjoy watching? Do you
have a favorite professional sports team?
BIANCHINI -I love football, especially college
football, but my favorite professional team would have to be the Chargers. Every year I say that they'll make it
to the Super Bowl, even though it hasn't happened since the 1994 season.
Q-What is something
that you could tell us about fencing that would surprise the average person?
BIANCHINI -It's easy to learn how to fence. Almost anyone can fence. There's even a wheelchair
division. It's more difficult to
learn to fence well, but like any sport you can be successful with practice and
dedication. I would encourage
anyone who is interested to give fencing a try.
Q-You're a political
science major at UCSD and on schedule to graduate this year with law school as
your next goal. Where does that
stand and what do you see in the future career wise?
BIANCHINI -I have a passion for law. My dad is a federal judge and he
inspired me to follow in his footsteps.
I've already been accepted to a couple of my top choice schools. After law school I want to go somewhere
in the United States where legal services are not readily available. There are many communities in Alaska,
West Virginia and the Dakotas where people suffer injustice because they cannot
find affordable legal help. I also
want to work to provide better legal services to veterans.
benefitted you in other areas of your life?
BIANCHINI -Fencing has benefited me by teaching me
discipline and the value of hard work.
So many things are possible if you work hard enough.
Q-Can you see yourself
competing in fencing after college?
BIANCHINI -I see myself competing until I'm 70 or 80. There are divisions for people who are
70. It's fantastic that fencing is
a lifetime sport.
Q-As a senior what
kind of leadership role do you try and play on the team? What are your goals for this year's
BIANCHINI -As the squad captain of women's epee I
try to set an example by fencing and by showing respect and courtesy to all of
my opponents. The goals for this
year's team are to take first place in all three weapons at conference and to
send a few of our fencers to the NCAA Championships. We are a strong team and I know we can do it.
Q-From a fencing perspective, what would the
ideal ending to your collegiate career include?
BIANCHINI -I would love to win another individual
conference medal. I would also love
to qualify individually for the NCAA Championships. I've had those two personal goals since the beginning of the
year and I would feel great if I met both of them.
Previous Q & A Articles
Lauren Freidenberg (Women's Basketball) January 3, 2011
Christian Hatch (Men's Basketball) December 24, 2011
Blake Langland (Men's Swimming & Diving) November 27, 2011
Sarah McTigue (Women's Soccer) November 8, 2010
Brandon Yee (Men's Soccer) October 11, 2010
Bryce Madsen (Men's Water Polo) September 23, 2010
Annette Ilg (Women's Soccer) September 9, 2010
Ricci Luyties (Women's Volleyball Head Coach) August 24, 2010
Kevin Messey (Head Athletics Trainer) July 7, 2010
Dan O'Brien (Baseball Head Coach) June 18, 2010
Merrill (Women's Track & Field) June 14, 2010
Vance Albitz (Baseball) May 11, 2010
Erik Elliott (Men's Tennis) May 3, 2010
Kelly Fogarty (Women's Track & Field) April 23, 2010
Liz LaPlante (Women's Tennis Head Coach) April 15, 2010
Kirby St. John (Baseball) March 24, 2010
Dan Perdew (Men's Swimming) February 28, 2010
Calvin Ross (Men's Volleyball) February 20, 2010
Nicole Saari (Softball) February 4, 2010
Brad Kreutzkamp (Women's Water Polo Head Coach) January 18, 2010
Tyler Acevedo (Men's Basketball) January 4, 2010
Dr. Cliff Kubiak (UCSD's Faculty Athletic Rep) December 18, 2009
Chelsea Carlisle (Women's Basketball) December 9, 2009
Carianne Cunningham (Women's Swimming) November 23, 2009
Elena Inouye (Cross Country) November 6, 2009
David Morton (Men's Water Polo) October 28, 2009
Juan Pablo Carillo (Men's Swimming) October 19, 2009
Sara Spaventa (Women's Soccer) October 10, 2009
Karen Reis (Women's Volleyball) October 2, 2009
Daniel Pavitt (Men's Soccer) September 23, 2009
Daniel Anderson (Cross Country) September 11, 2009
Peter Gresham (Men's Water Polo) September 2, 2009
Alexia Zatarain (Women's Soccer) August 24, 2009
Elaine Chen (Women's Volleyball) August 12, 2009
Jared Kukura (Men's Soccer) July 30, 2009
Dawn Lee (Former Women's Soccer Standout) July 8, 2009
Rob Mamula (Director of Athletic Performance) June 18, 2009
Garrett Imeson (Baseball) June 8, 2009
Leon Baham (Men's Track & Field) May 21, 2009
Kristyn Lesovsky (Softball) May 8, 2009
Kazumi Negishi (Men's Tennis) May 5, 2009
Laiah Blue (Women's Track & Field) April 16, 2009
Ryan Andre (Men's Crew) April 2, 2009
Josh Tanner (Baseball) March 24, 2009
Anju Shimura (Women's Swimming) March 7, 2009
Stephanie Bocian (Women's Water Polo) February 20, 2009
Lauren Chastain (Softball) February 5, 2009
A.J. Maulhardt (Men's Basketball) January 28, 2009
Annette Ilg (Women's Basketball) January 22, 2009
Steven Hardy (Men's Swimming) January 13, 2009
Frank Fritsch (Men's Volleyball) January 5, 2009