It’s been a history-making week for two-time Olympic foil fencer Lee Kiefer.
Just six days after becoming the first American to achieve the No. 1 world ranking in women’s foil, Kiefer claimed her fourth NCAA championship, becoming only the second female fencer ever to take four individual titles.
Competing for the University of Notre Dame, Kiefer picked up her fourth NCAA crown Sunday at the Indiana Farmers Coliseum in Indianapolis. It was her fourth title in five years, as she sat out the 2015-16 season to focus on preparations for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, where she finished 10th.
Her four titles match the record set by Penn State’s Olga Kalinovskaya, the only women’s fencer to win NCAA titles in four consecutive years (1993-96). Only one man, New York University’s Michael Lofton, has won four times, taking the saber title from 1984 to 1987.
Kiefer had to maintain a hectic travel schedule for her history-making week to happen. After winning the Midwest regional March 11 at Wayne State University of Detroit, she dashed to Long Beach, California, and won her fourth consecutive grand prix podium with a performance that elevated her to the world No. 1 spot.
After that, it was back to Indiana to help Notre Dame to its fifth NCAA team title since 1990, when co-ed championships were introduced. All the while, the pre-med major has been keeping up with her studies to graduate this spring.
Kiefer’s Rio Olympic teammate, Eli Dershwitz, won his first NCAA saber title competing as a sophomore for Harvard University.