Less than 24 hours after landing from Pan-American Championships in Toronto, I was boarding another plane, this time to an Italian national team training camp in Rome. Having never been to Rome, I thought this would be a great time to train before worlds and explore a new city. I’ve been fortunate to see many other cities around the Mediterranean (Tunis, Athens, Antalya and Cairo) and Rome was one of the last cities on my bucket list. I went to the Colosseum, the Trevi fountain, the Vatican, pretty much every tourist spot you can name. The camp itself was really strong and I felt more prepared than ever to compete.
One week later, I hopped on a short flight from Rome to Budapest (less than 2 hours!) and was ready for my first world championships experience. The first several days consisted of light practice and preparing my teammates for individual competition. Similar to Pan American Championships I had a longggg time before I actually fenced (9 days) and I had to stay mentally prepared.
After a couple of days of supporting my teammates in the venue I broke out and went around Budapest, a city I had been to in the past but never really explored. First of all, who knew Buda and Pest were 2 different parts of the city?! Second of all, it was way more fun and exciting than I expected. Usually we’re traveling in the winter time and it was pretty awesome seeing the city in the summer.
Finally, the team event arrived, and my stomach was in knots. It’s funny because I’ve watched worlds on the Youtube live stream every year and every year you can see how nervous these top fencers are while they’re competing. I always think “shouldn’t they be used to it after having so much experience?” Now I finally understood. We fenced well first defeated Uzbekistan then Canada, moving into the top 8 and Day 2. On Day 2 I finally made it to the big stage and man was it overwhelming! People were yelling, I could barely hear the referee and emotions were running high. Unfortunately, we lost to Korea, 45-39, and would have to fence for 5-8th place. After a long day we finished 7th, not nearly as well as we all expected. With the long season ahead of us, the only direction we can go is up!