The Harvard fencing team is widely considered to be one of the most premier fencing programs in the United States with numerous athletes going on to represent their respective countries in the Summer Olympic games. Like the other 40 varsity sports at Harvard University the fencing team is also a member of the highly regarded Ivy League Conference.
While most Americans have heard the term the Ivy League at one time or another most do not realize that the phrase was not formally recognized until 1954 when the title came to be designated not merely as a means to boast the academic exclusivity of the 8 schools that make up the conference but rather to group the sports teams in a manner similar to other conferences such as the SEC (Southeastern Conference) and Big Ten. While football is the sport perhaps most commonly associated with the Ivy Leagues there are numerous sports like rowing in which Ivy League representatives actually compete for national championships on a regular basis. Harvard fencing has the distinction of having accumulated five individual NCAA titles and one team NCAA Championship (2006).
Members of the Harvard Crimson fencing program have gone on to such esteemed global competition as the Olympic Games. Seven Harvard fencing athletes have participated in the Olympics including a former US team captain (George Breed) and most recently Emily Rose who won a silver medal in the 2008 Beijing games.
The Harvard fencing team has the unique distinction of being the first college fencing team in the country with its inaugural contest being held way back in 1888. Over 120 years later the program is still going strong with current home meets being held in the Malkin Athletic Center. When not training on the third floor of the Holyoke Street facility in Cambridge the team, currently led by head coach Peter Brand, takes to the road for area competition. With a schedule usually consisting of a few meets a year the Harvard fencing team splits time between home and away contests.
The Ivy League affiliated Harvard Varsity Fencing Team established way back in 1888 is a completely separate entity from the more recently established Harvard Fencing Club which was created as recently as the spring of 2007 by students looking to try their hand at the sport, many for the first time. Regardless of experience or skill level fencing can be an extremely fun sport to try. Getting ones feet wet by donning a mask and picking up a foil (the sword) certainly makes one appreciate the finer aspects of the sport when later watching a top tier competition like the ones frequently competed in by the Harvard fencing team.