Team History

Currently, the team is trying to discover more of its history by piecing together documents and photos that have made their way into our hands. Here is a brief history courtesy of the Swem Special Records Collection Wiki!

  • 1924 – Tucker Jones establishes the first William and Mary Fencing Team at the College
  • 1942 – In 10 years, the William and Mary fencing team had lost only seven meets, was among the first five teams in the nation, and were reigning South Atlantic Fencing champions.
  • 1944 – The varsity team was comprised entirely of women
  • 1958 – There was both a women’s varsity fencing team and an intramural fencing team
  • 1960s – John H. Willis reinstates the men’s varsity fencing team
    “Back in the 1930s William and Mary had an intercollegiate fencing team of
    some renown, but it had lapsed for all the war years. So when I came to
    William in 1959, or in the 60s actually, I picked up and started the William
    and Mary men’s fencing club and eventually turned it into a varsity sport and
    was coaching it as a varsity sport for a couple of years until it got (laughing)
    too much for me to do.” – John H. Willis
  • 1992 – W&M fencing won at the MACFA championships
  • 1996 – Varsity status is lost, but Coach Pete Conomikes continues to volunteer
  • 2001 – The team becomes Virginia Cup Champions, a title still held eleven consecutive years later
  • 2007 – Coach Pete Conomikes and Benjamin Gutenberg die from a car crash on the way to a fencing tournament. Spencer Butts (Foil ’11) and Matthew Peppe (Epee ’11) survive the crash and eventually become captains for the 2009-2010 & 2010-2011 seasons.

Information about the physical records of the fencing team held in the Special Collections at Swem Library can be found here.

For more information about fencing team history and links to digital archives, click here.

If any alumni have any historical information to contribute to this list, whether it be a spectacular win, interesting memory, or the name of a team captain, please e-mail fencingwm@gmail.com with subject: Team History.

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