Jul 29, 2011
By Jonathan Walter
Standard Staff Reporter
If you’re in Hewlett and happen to hear the clashing of swords, fear not. You haven’t traveled back in time to the dark ages. It’s just the sounds of The Five Towns Fencers Club.
The club, run by Jonathan Tiompkins, is a competitive program which offers everything from beginners classes designed to let kids have fun and explore their interest in fencing, all the way up to advanced training groups, which participate in national competitions.
“We teach foil between the ages of eight and 17,” Tiompkins said. “It’s all through instruction. We have group classes every weekday. We also have private lessons.”
Tiompkins is an accomplished fencer, having competed on the 2004 Olympic team, as well as taking part in seven world championships. While never losing sight of the fact that he wants fencing to be fun, Tiompkins is a great teacher who helps his students compete at a high level.
“We have one boy who is ranked fourth in the country within his age group, which is Y12,” Tiompkins said. “We have another girl that came in second place in our national championships. We also have fencers that placed in this national championship. We have one boy who was competing in our senior event, which is under 20 years old. He was the best person on Long Island and came in 40th place. It’s a young program though, so we mostly focus on the kids.
Previously in a small space on Broadway in Woodmere for five years, their new facility on Prospect Avenue in Hewlett is a fencers delight, with a large, well-ventilated room. Students from Hewlett, Woodmere, and Lawrence and all over Nassau attend classes there.
Eleven-year-old Zoe Superville from Woodmere recently traveled with the rest of the Five Towns Fencers Club to Reno to compete in the North American Cup, placing 16th in her age group. Tiompkins pointed out that she is one of the top fencers in the country among her age group, but you would never know it when talking to the quiet and humble Superville.
“I was watching a TV show one day and they had fencing on, and I realized that there was a fencing club around the corner,” Superville said. “So I asked my mom if I could go try. It’s a good place to come learn. Jon is very nice and a good teacher and it’s a lot of fun. He pushes you, but not too hard. It’s just the right amount.”
The club sent a total of 18 of their advanced students to the North American Cup, which was a very successful trip for the club, according to Tiompkins.
“I wasn’t fencing that serious before this and then I met Jon through a friend,” 15-year-old Daniel Sconzo said. “I immediately liked Jon when I met him and within two weeks I was taking lessons twice a week. Now I’m taking much more. I love the club. Everyone is so nice, and it’s very competitive. Jon is a great coach who knows everything about fencing. The other coach, Gidon Retzkin is also a very good teacher.”
Tiompkins encouraged any children or parents who want to get their kids into fencing to come down to the facility and get more information.
“It’s affordable and you get great coaching,” Tiompkins said. “It’s what both of us have done all of our lives. It’s not a part time thing. We’re professional coaches and that’s all we do.”
The Five Towns Fencers Club is located at 15 Prospect Avenue in Hewlett. You can reach them at (516) 295-4148 or check out their website at fivetownsfencing.com
Filed Under: Sports
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