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Athlete Feels at Home at Fencing Club
Shannon Comerford - Bridges Magazine - July 17th, 2013

Shannon Comerford has spent a lot of time at her favourite place in Saskatoon. Sheís been going to the Salle Seguin Fencing Club for over 10 years and spends at least 10 hours a week training there.

The 25-year-old started fencing more than 15 years ago and has had ample success in that time; sheís been on the junior and senior national teams for years and was part of the Canadian womenís foil team that made history in 2011 when they placed among the top eight teams in the world ó the best result by any Canadian womenís foil team.

She recently was awarded a silver medal as part of this yearís Canadian womenís foil team at the Pan American Fencing Championships in Columbia.

Comerford says thereís nothing better than coming home to her favourite place, the Salle Seguin Fencing Club, after successfully competing around the world.

Q. Whatís the atmosphere like at the Salle Seguin Fencing Club?
A. Itís not just elite athlete focused. We have rec members; middle-aged and teenagers who are there for recreation. I know they have classes for young kids I think as young as maybe eight years old and older members who are up into their 50s. Thereís a wide spectrum of members involved so itís always positive, itís always fun. We do have our elite athletes who are there with more of a serious focus, but itís always a fun and positive atmosphere, no matter what, even if there are a few people who are more serious. Itís for anybody and everybody who wants to come out.

Q. Why is the club your favourite place in Saskatoon?
A. Itís where I spend the majority of my time. I have a lot of friends in Salle Seguin and itís kind of my get-away-from-everything place. If Iím having trouble in school or stressed out with work or whatever, I can just go there and lay everything out there, work out a good sweat and let all my stress out.

Q. What do you do when youíre at the Salle Seguin?
A. I do other training outside of the Salle, just dry land stuff, but when Iím in the Salle I really focus on the fencing aspect. I work with my personal coach and thereís always going to be lesson-style training. The coach wears a vest and weíre able to hit them all kinds of different ways. Thereís some target practice work where weíre working on our aim and accuracy. We always have footwork drills to increase our speed and agility and then thereís sparring. Weíre able to suit up and plug in and compete with our teammates.

Q. Do you do anything else other than training while youíre at the club?
A. There are different times throughout the year for different holidays we always get together and have a potluck community thing where everyone brings food. We have laughs and share memories together. There are all kinds of community get-togethers that we have so itís not always just fencing focused.

Q. Are you training with a specific goal in mind?
A. I was working for qualifying for the 2012 Olympics and unfortunately I suffered a pretty severe injury to my knee and Iíve recently had surgery.

So, my next goal is the 2016 Olympics and Iím hoping to train out of Saskatoon throughout the whole process and hopefully qualify.
© Copyright The StarPhoenix

Pan Am Fencing Championships silver medallist Shannon Comerford trains at the Sally Seguin
Fencing Club at 414 First Ave North, her favourite place in Saskatoon. Bridges photo by Michelle Berg

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