Placed somewhere around 56-64th, out of 166 fencers.
There were 166 of us in the men's epee. The plan was that we'd have one round of pools, then 125 of us would be promoted to the DE (a not-very-incomplete 128, whee !). I managed to find the right piste easily and waited for my first bout.
The first bout was ok - I won 5-3, and wasn't too rusty with it. In the past, I've often lost the first bout of the day, no matter the standard of the opponent, due to a combination of nervousness and not-quite-with-it-ness, so winning the first one is generally good.
The second bout was a narrow loss, 4-5, to a guy I'd mentally marked as the likely "winner" of the pool. Of course, I had been 4-2 up, so a little bit more concentration could have seen it go the other way.
After that, I won three more (two 5-4s, and a 5-1), and lost one 1-5. That one was very annoying, because I didn't really figure out what my opponent was doing or what mistake I was making.
So, I finished the pool round with 4 wins, 2 losses, and a hit indicator of +3, which placed me ... 61st, into the DE. I knew that the pools were important, but I'm clearly going to have to work on them some more in the future - ideally, should win all the bouts, or at worst, drop only one.
On to the DE, fencing the 68th placed fencer after the pools. The bout went mostly to plan - I was up 4-3 at the first break, up 8-6 at the second, and won 15-11. There was an interesting pattern to it, though - I would get 2-3 hits ahead, usually with a couple of good attacks, but then my opponent would come back with some good attacks. So the score was actually 4-1 early, but I let him catch up again, then it was 8-4, and again he caught up. Again, need to work on 100% concentration for these bouts. I felt reasonably good afterwards, but knew I would have to move up a gear for the next bout.
Next bout was against the 4th seed on the day, who also happens to be 4th in the British Rankings currently. I started well - got the first hit, we traded hits a bit, then I was up 4-3. Unfortunately, he got the next three hits, at least one of which was due to a concentration (and distance) lapse on my part. I lost one point through stepping off the back of the piste, too - felt right daft - but I don't normally train on marked pistes these days, so I don't have the proper feel for the end (and it wasn't particularly well marked in this case, just a couple of bits of red & white tape on the side of the piste). Managed to regain concentration and a bit of momentum, and had caught up to 9-10 at the second break. After the break, though, we had two double hits (11-12), and then he got the last three hits.
11-15, and I was out in the 64. (Final place unknown as yet, somewhere between 56 and 64, though)
So, I did manage to finish above 100 other fencers, but I was aiming to finish at least in the final 16. Once again, must improve those pool results, so I'm not meeting the top-ranked fencers too early.
There are many aspects of good performance in a competition. I'm going to rate them here, for my future reference, and so I know which things are going right, and which need work :
Equipment : 10/10. No failures, no faults, nothing forgotten. (this is something many fencers don't seem to have the hang of - do they really want to be rushing around trying to fix or scrounge up working equipment rather than concentrating on fencing ?)
Fitness : 7/10 Generally good, but need a bit more endurance - didn't feel 100% energetic for the DE bouts. Fencing competitions have a really hard pattern of effort to train for - in the pool, you have 3 minutes frantic effort, then up to 10 minutes waiting, then another 3 minutes frantic, and so on. Then you have a gap, usually up to an hour, then you get another 10 minutes of franticness, then another gap, and so on. The total time actually spent fencing (assuming you make it well into the DE :-) ) might be 60 minutes - but you'll have been at the venue for 6-8 hours, mostly waiting around.
Hydration : 8/10 Possibly a little bit underhydrated - on the other hand, I didn't have my shoulder and back-of-neck muscles seizing up and giving me a headache, which happens when I'm too far under. Drank about 500ml before fencing, 1500ml during, and 1500ml afterwards and in the evening.
Food : 7/10 This ties in with hydration - if I eat too much (e.g. lunch) during the day, it tends to make me sluggish in my next bout. If I eat nothing, I'll probably be falling over by the end of the day. I tend to snack on biscuits and chocolates through the day. Pity I don't like bananas or any of the various energy bars around.
Concentration : 7/10 Mostly good, still lapses here and there.
Sleep : 6/10 Got to bed in good time, but Saturday had been a long and tiring day. And, I woke up and 4am, and I was awake[tm] . Took a while to get back to sleep again. Also woke up at 10 to 7 after having a detailed and real-seeming dream of waking up at 9:19 (when I had to be at the venue at 9:15, of course). The alarm went at 7:15 ... oh well, will do better next time.
So, that was my Welsh Open. Overall, I don't feel too bad about the way I fenced, but there are still a few things to work on in fitness, concentration and getting the right amount of sleep beforehand. I'll get to test them out again quite soon, since we're heading to London for me to compete in the Miller-Hallet Cup, on the 27th. Whee.