Regional competitions, unlike many sports, are the typical entry level events for modern pentathlon and frequently include both full pentathlon and tetrathlon (everything except the equestrian for youth and adults not capable of riding) competitions. The events are usually held on the same day and consist of the following:
This is a freestyle (any stroke) competition with distances ranging from 50 to 200 meters depending on age. At the senior (open) level 250 points are awarded for a time of 2’30” with +/-1 point for every half-second above/below this time.
The fencing event is a 1-touch, round-robin fencing competition. In order to balance the scores, athletes must compete in a minimum of 20 matches. For this reason, most pentathlon competitions combine age groups to have enough matches. While all the bouts count towards the athlete’s final score, they are only competing among their own age group (who fenced the same opponents) for final placing. 250 points are awarded for 70% victories with +/- 4-6 points (depending on number of matches) for every touch above or below 70%.
The equestrian event is a 15-jump arena course on a horse the athlete is given by lottery. The athlete has 20 minutes to warm-up on the horse before the competition. While Olympic jumps can be set as high as 4′, U.S. Nationals typically top out at 3′ and Regionals at 2’6″-3′. A clean ride within the time limit earns 300 points with deductions for any faults. The equestrian event is only for qualified riders in the Jr., Sr., and Masters divisions. All other athletes compete in the tetrathlon.
The combined run/laser pistol marksmanship event is similar to the winter biathlon in that athletes must run a course, stopping every few hundred meters to shoot at a laser pistol target. Seniors complete series of shooting until they score five hits at 10 meters (or try for a maximum of 50 seconds) and run 800 meters. They score 500 points for a time of 13’20” with +/- 1 point for every second above or below this time. Running and shooting distances are varied by age.
I am the owner of Davis Fencing Academy, a national team coach for USA Pentathlon and the founder of Davis Pentathlon.
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