Olympian Fencing Club is led by Coach Velizar, a world-class athlete and coach with combined experience of over 40 years. Coach Velizar still competes periodically but spends most of his time and dedication to the fencers he coaches.
His teaching philosophy focuses on the mental approach to the sport, which can be the most difficult to overcome, along with key cardiovascular and training techniques to increase stamina and develop fencing skills. His guidance allows for students pursuing competitive success as well as those looking for physical challenge for noncompetitive reasons to both thrive and grow in the sport.
Coach Velizar’s credentials speak for themselves. His lifelong pursuit of quality training has led him to personal and team triumph, which translates to the club’s success and grooming of many key students that have gone on to college scholarships, world championships, and even Olympic teams. Velizar Iliev is a:
- 2000 US Olympian (pentathlon)
- 3 time World Champion
- 1999 Pan-American Games Champion
- 1990 Goodwill Games Bronze Medal
- Holds numerous National Championship titles for the Modern Pentathlon and Epee fencing for US and Bulgaria. The Modern Pentathlon is one of the oldest Olympic sports and it consists of: Fencing, Riding, Shooting, Swimming and Running.
All of these lead to the best epee fencing school in the San Antonio region.
Victor Svatenko, now in his seventh year as fencing coach at Penn State, brings a distinguished background in fencing and modern pentathlon to Olympian. A graduate of the University of Physical Culture in Almaty, Kazakhstan, Svatenko became the Head Fencing Coach of the Republic of Kazakhstan’s national team, serving in this position from 1977 through 1985. He has coached several elite athletes in epee.
In 1982, the former U.S.S.R. Olympic Committee named him the Fencing Coach of the Year for the Republic of Kazakhstan. Later, he became the Assistant Director of Sports Science for Kazakhstan and then the Director/Chief Administrator of the Sports Training Center for Elite Athletes.
Svatenko came to the United States in 1990 and quickly established himself with the United States Olympic Committee (USOC), becoming the Head Fencing Coach of the United States’ national modern pentathlon team. He was a four-time Olympic coach, and coached several teams in World Championships, including the teams Velizar Iliev was a member of.
During his tenure as fencing coach with the USOC, his athletes claimed a silver medal at the Olympics as well as three gold, one silver, and a bronze medal at the World Championships. He also coached athletes to four gold medals at the Pan American games. From 1998 through 2001, he was named the USOC’s National Coach of the Year in Modern Pentathlon. From 2002 through 2004, he was the USOC’s Developmental Coach of the year.