A Carnoustie High School pupil has been selected for the Scotland Under-15 fencing team to take part in an international competition in Poland in March.
Caitlin Philbin, who is in third year, is 14 years of age and has only been fencing since first year. She is the only daughter of proud parents Ian and Sandra Philbin, Harris Road, Carnoustie.
Her coach is Mr Joe McCall, a teacher at Carnoustie High where the extra curricularm club operates. She has been keen on competition fencing since the beginning of her training in 2011. She cut her teeth in the Youth Development Championship and has picked up bronze and silver medals in this competition series.
Last season, Carnoustie High School won the Best Overall School for Girls in the Scottish Secondary School Teams competition, with gold and bronze in both the over-15 and under-15 categories. Caitlin captained the under-15 team to gold in this event.
This season, she has a bronze in the Secondary Schools’ Individual Championships and came top in the school’s autumn games. She has also begun competing in senior open events, gaining experience against Scotland’s top adult fencers.
Most recently, despite carrying a back injury, Caitlin fought her way through the qualifying rounds to gain a place in the Scotland team heading out to Poland.
The High School club started in a small way with five fencers in 2009. The focus has always been on the Olympic weapon of epée. This is a point weapon, where the whole body is the target. Since then, with generous support from the school and local community, the club has grown to 23 members.
There is the opportunity to train twice a week after school. For the last two years, the club has run well attended summer camps led by one of Scottish fencing’s top coaches.
Each fencer learns to coach others, referee and how to fight. All fencers are encouraged to obtain a fencing licence and participate in competitions. The club has enjoyed significant competition success with Youth Development Series winners at under-14, under-16 and under-18 levels.
They are Secondary School Team Epee champions and local fencers are now making an impact in their first senior open competitions.
For the last couple of seasons, they have also offered a number of training places to primary seven pupils in the local area. This gives them an early taste of the sport and I am pleased to say that a number of these recruits continue fencing when they begin attending secondary school.
Cailtin Is also a member of Monifieth Swimming Club and is undertaking her Duke of Edinburgh Award through the school.
She told the Guide & Gazette: “I am absolutely delighted with the news. It was an amazing surprise when I got the notification on Friday and at the moment we are looking at changes to my training routine.”