Proud of Our Pards: Dan Robitzki '15
By Peter Levine ‘16
Published: Thursday, February 14, 2013
Updated: Saturday, February 16, 2013 16:02
Many people don’t know much about how fencing works, nor would they ever consider picking up a foil or saber. Then there are people like standout sophomore epee fencer Dan Robitzki. Robitzki was attracted to the sport from a young age.
“I’m not going to lie, the idea of swashbuckling and sword fighting like Robin Hood sounded like the coolest thing in the world to me when I was a little kid,” said Robitzki.
Like most students, Robitzki tried many of sports growing up, but found fencing to be his favorite. His interest in the sport quickly bloomed.
“I started taking introductory lessons in the spring of 2004,” he recalled. “I started competing in the United Sates Fencing Association in 2007, earning my first ratings in 2009.”
Robitzki had an impressive freshman season last year, placing 18th out of 100 fencers at the November 7 Temple Open, and qualifying for the NCAA Regional by the end of the season.
He has stepped up his performance significantly this year, and his teammates have noticed. “This year...he is constantly competing at open tournaments in his free time that are not associated with our Varsity Team’s Competition Schedule. He’s an extremely hard worker and without a doubt gave his 100% last year, but he’s putting in 110% this year,” said teammate Caitlin Altomare ‘14.
Dan’s teammates have noticed an emergence of leadership this year. “Last year, Dan was known as a great guy and a team player. This year, he’s a great guy, a team player, and a leader - he’s the guy people look up to,” said Altomare. “He goes out of his way to help his teammates improve their skills.”
He has helped keep a positive and humorous mood within the team. “We’re a big family. We go through a lot together. Dan is one of the people that keeps us close nit and definitely makes us laugh. A lot,” said Altomare.
In last fall’s home invitational at Kirby Sports Center, Robitzki posted an impressive 10-5 record, and worked hard over the winter to receive the prestigious United Sates Fencing Association “B” rating.
Complimented by his peers as a great teammate, Robitzki displayed a selfless tendency to talk about the team before talking about any of his individual accomplishments. He has a positive outlook for Sunday’s meet at Drew University (Madison, NJ).
“I am confident that my team and I will take our loss to Hopkins as a driving force to train harder and smarter than before so that we can come back stronger for our next meet at Drew,” said Robitzki. “Speaking as a member of the epee squad, I expect good results from my squad and team. Drew was one of our toughest losses last year but I think that we are more prepared with an idea of what to expect next week,”
Training, Robitzki attested, is much more rigorous than any student would think for the fencing team. “Our team meets for two hours a day, four days a week. If we have space in the Kirby gym, our practices consist of a conditioning and footwork warm-up, followed by drills to improve our technique and tactics as well as semi-competitive free fencing to help us apply what we were training in a real-world situation.”
Asked how he came to find the Lafayette fencing team, Robitzki’s story was simple. He wasn’t recruited (even though the Leopard fencing team is a varsity Division 1 sport) but knew he had the potential to play at this level. “When it came time to choose a school, I went against a school to which I was recruited because the Lafayette fencing team was simply a better fit for me.”