Vice Captain William East is a pupil whose ambitions are given laser-like focus by rigorous discipline and organisation. A highly successful fencer with Olympic aspirations, William knows the value of structuring his time to meet priorities. Indeed, dealing with the cut and thrust of demands, parrying one to deal with another, is a skill he has derived from his swordplay. It is, as he so insightfully puts it, a matter of either/or algorithms: choices cannot be sidestepped or priorities deferred without inviting the inevitable damaging implications.
William’s success is gauged easily: he has appeared numerous times on the international stage and last year made the top sixteen in a European circuit event, took third in the British Under-17s Championships and first in the Public Schools’ Championships at Crystal Palace – the first winner from Kent in approximately four decades.
What William enjoys about the sport – apart from abundant success – is the mental challenge. Fencing demands of its participants timing, strategy and style, all of which make the sport a kind of physical chess in which the fencer, both in the action and observing it, is at once piece and player.
Fencing is such a part of William’s life – he has been on guard since the age of eight – that it is of no surprise that he brings to his academic studies the lessons of the piste. The rigour and discipline of training have taught him that practice and effort are the alchemical means by which raw passion is transmuted into award-winning élan. The sport has taught him to aim high too: a student of Art, Physics and Product Design, William has his eye on design in London, a career in which we are confident he will succeed, applying himself as he does in all things: to – what else? – the hilt!
Since the time of writing William has now secured his place in the U20 GB squad and has already participated in his first World Cup competition. (October 2016)