by MICHELLE TREMBLAY | photos by Spark Photography

Fantastic Fencing

Sixteen-year-old Diego Calderon was born in Germany but moved with his family to the United States about six years ago. For the past four years, they have lived in the Westwood community of Rancho Bernardo. “We have many friends in the neighborhood,” explained Diego, “and my parents bought a house because they really like the sense of community.”

Diego is currently in 11th grade at Rancho Bernardo High School. “I really like the teachers. They are always available when I have any questions,” he shared. “The students are all very laid-back, and I get along with everyone.” His favorite subjects in school are his language classes. “I was born in Germany in a Spanish family,” said Diego. “I am fluent in all those languages, which helps me a lot when I am traveling.”student1

And because Diego is a competitive fencer, traveling is something he does quite often. “I competed in last’s year European and World Championships,” he explained. “My goal this year is to qualify again for the European and World Championships. It is very difficult and it requires that I travel a lot to compete internationally. My next destinations are Bratislava (Slovakia) and Luxemburg.”

student2Diego started fencing when he was just eight years old. “It runs in my family,” he shared. “My father is a fencing coach, and my brother was already fencing (when I started).”

Inspired by his coaches and fellow teammates in Spain, Diego remains extremely dedicated to his sport. “Fencing really takes most of my time outside of school,” he said. “It requires both physical and mental fitness. I do a lot of fitness training, swimming, and also work with a sport physiologist to learn how to control the pressure of the competition.”  When he travels, Diego trains about five hours per day and five days per week. “I then usually compete on the weekends,” he added.

All his hard work seems to be paying off.  Diego won the North American Cup two years ago and the Spanish Nationals last year. “My latest result was finishing 20th in a World Cup that took place in Grenoble, France, in November,” he noted. Diego is currently the California High School Champion in fencing as well.

Apart from fencing, Diego is proud to be in the AVID program at his school. “I do community service through the program,” he explained. “In total, I have a little more than 75 hours to raise money for the school library.”

As for his future plans, Diego replied, “I would like to study kinesiology and win a medal at the Olympic Games.”


Name: Diego Calderon (16)
School: Rancho Bernardo High School
Grade: 11
Parents: Esther Bartolome and Juan Ignacio Calderon
Siblings: Pablo (18) and Luca (17). Luca is an exchange student from Italy that is staying with us for a year. I consider him my brother and he is also a fencer.
Favorite place in 92127: The Westwood Club

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