Lunge, parry, thrust. For 19 years Coach Rene Perey has been grooming undergrads in how to pink their opponents most gracefully and efficiently in the age-old art of fencing.
With a possible three events in which to start none of this year's varsity swordsmen could boast Coach Perey's endorsement as best in his field. "They're all pretty well matched," said Perey, "but so far the saber seems to be the best event."
Hours of jabbing at suspended rubber balls and diving at leather-backed targets around the wall may make the epee-wielders the best in several years, far surpassing last year's four out of seven varsity wins.
"We're a little stronger than last year," assorted the coach, banking on a plentiful supply of new men and his four returning varsity duelists: Captain John Gay, Norman Ellis, Tom Masterson, and Bill Raney.
Varsity fencers have no priority on Coach Perey's optimism, since a group of 13 Freshmen are also vying for first place in the soft-spoken Frenchman's opinion. Labor pains of the embryonic Yardling team will be hard, however, delaying its differentiated arrival until sometime shortly after the season-opening Exeter match.
Saber practice on the 40-by-6 foot regulation strip is supplemented by slashing at a sword-wielding canvas dummy, while epee and foilmen glean their largest off-strip brushups by lunging at quarter-inch targets taped on the wall.
"Men seldom get hurt," said Perey, "but once in a while the blade breaks on a weapon and the shaft goes right in."
In addition to the 1947 season's returning lettermen, the fencers boast good coverage in all three events--epee, foil, and saber--with the following men filling the key positions: Neil McNeil, John Ager, Halton Arp, Giles Constable, Stan Sheldon, Joseph Vera, and Ray Frankman.