The Long Island Division, which covers the Nassau and Suffolk counties in the State of New York, made our top 15 list of Divisions for fencer activity in 2016-2017¹. Generating 3,189 local and regional fencer-events, the Division is the 11th largest Division for fencer-activity in the nation, down from 8th place in 2015-2016. It is home to three of our “Best Fencing Clubs” recipients for 2016-2017; 5T Fencers Club (Foil), Mission Fencing Center (Foil/Saber), and North Shore Fencers Club (Epee).
The number of local and regional fencer-events generated by members of the Division has grown at the compound annual rate of 3.1% per year since 2008-2009, less than the national average of 4.4% per year over the same period. In recent years, however, fencing activity has picked up, growing at 6.7% per year since 2010-2011.
The significant growth in fencer-events has been underwritten by the sustained growth in all three weapons; epee, saber and foil, which have grown at the compound annual rates of 7.3%, 6.9% and 6.1% respectively over the period. The historical growth in fencer-events is illustrated in the accompanying graph. Despite its trailing performance of late, foil is still the largest segment and accounted for about 41% of fencer-events generated in the Division in 2016-2017, followed by saber at 30% and epee 29%.
The number of local and regional fencer-events generated by a club is related to the number and profile of competitive members in the club, the approach of the club’s coaches regarding competitive tournaments and the quality and distance of nearby fencing competitions. Local tournament events include events that are organized by clubs, consortia of clubs and USFA Divisions. They do not include ROCs, RJCCs, SYCs, RYCs and Divisional Qualifiers which are all classified as regional tournaments. National tournaments include NACs, Championships, and the July Challenge.
The composition of local and regional fencer-events generated by the largest Long Island Division clubs in 2016-2017 is illustrated in the accompanying graph. The Mission Fencing Center, which is located in Rocky Point, generated the largest number of fencer-events at 585, down from 665 the previous year. About 40% of the fencer-events were foil, 34% saber and 26% epee. Hills Fencing Institute, located in Hauppauge, followed closely with 558 fencer-events, 38% epee and 31% for each of saber and foil. The largest five clubs accounted for about 72% of the fencer-events generated in 2016-2017. The North Shore Fencers Club, located in Great Neck and 5T fencers Club, Mineola, are single weapon clubs specializing in epee and foil respectively as illustrated in the graph.
The growth in foil fencer-events generated by clubs with large foil programs in the Division is illustrated in the accompanying graph. 5T Fencers Club generated the largest number of local and regional foil fencer-events in 2016-2017 at 472, up a whopping 138% from 198 in 2015-2016. The second largest club, Mission Fencing Center recorded a slight decline in foil fencer-events, declining from 254 in 2015-2016 to 233 in 2016-2017 as illustrated in the graph. It should be noted that 5T Fencers Club changed its name from Five Town Fencers Club and data for the earlier club is not available.
The following graph clearly demonstrates that the Mission Fencing Center, Island Fencing Academy which is located in Plainview, and Hills Fencing Institute are the largest generators of saber fencer-events. They accounted for about 86% of all the local and regional saber fencer-events generated in the Division in 2016-2017.
The North Shore Fencers Club, Hills Fencing Institute, and Mission Fencing Center were clearly the dominant clubs generating local and regional epee fencer-events in 2016-2017. Between them, they accounted for 86% of the epee fencer-events generated on Long Island.
¹ Source: askFred.net
We recognize that askFRED.net data includes non-sanctioned USFA tournaments such as high school tournaments, private club tournaments, and a few tournaments associated with fencing camps. While the data is not perfect, it nevertheless allows for a comparison of medium to long term growth rates in fencer-activity across States, Divisions, and Clubs. Provided the inconsistencies are consistent over time we are able to get a trend, and therefore an average growth rate. Despite the data limitations, we are able to make valid comparisons on the performance of States, Divisions, and clubs. For strategic decision making, timely, consistent, and directionally correct information is more important than data that is one hundred percent accurate.