A group of UConn students, including Canton local Jon Szylobryt , won gold medals and set a Florida state collegiate skydiving record last week at the 2014 U.S. Parachute Association National Collegiate Parachuting Championships, the oldest and biggest collegiate skydiving event in the world. The competition took place at the Florida Skydiving Center in Lake Wales.
More than 75 fearless collegiate skydivers from around the country put their books aside over the winter break to compete at the national championships, pushing their aerial skills to the limit and competing for the title of national champion in four spectacular skydiving disciplines: Formation Skydiving, Vertical Formation Skydiving, Sport Accuracy and Classic Accuracy.
Students from UConn won gold medals in the 6-way formation skydiving event with their team, “Mo’ Budget, Mo’ Problems.” In formation skydiving, the team leaps from an aircraft more than two miles above the ground and then races against the clock to form prescribed geometric formations in freefall before opening their parachutes. The team also set a state collegiate skydiving record by building a formation in 8.65 seconds.
Team members are Kevin Duignan from Pawcatuck, a senior majoring in physiology and neurobiology; William Harris from Ridgefield, a senior majoring in mechanical engineering; Douglas Hendrix from Bristol, Rhode Island, a junior majoring in materials science and engineering; Andrew Stipicevic from Ridgefield, a junior economics major; Jon Szylobryt from Canton, a senior nursing major; and Andrew Usher from North Haven, a senior horticulture major.
Founded in 1946, the United States Parachute Association is a non-profit association dedicated to the promotion of safe skydiving nationwide, establishing strict safety standards, training policies and programs at more than 220 USPA-affiliated skydiving schools and centers throughout the United States. Each year, USPA’s 35,000-plus members and hundreds of thousands of first-time jump students make more than 3 million jumps in the U.S. USPA represents skydivers before all levels of government, the public and the aviation industry and sanctions national skydiving competitions and records.
For more information on making a first jump or to find a skydiving center near you, visit www.uspa.org or call 800.371.USPA.