U.S. Parachute Association Celebrates Collegiate Skydivers

The world’s longest-running collegiate skydiving competition returned this year, as the U.S. Parachute Association hosted the 59 th consecutive National Collegiate Parachuting Championships. Seventy-seven collegiate skydivers from across the country flocked to sunny Skydive Arizona, south of Phoenix, over the New Year’s holiday for a week of fierce but friendly competition.

The collegiate championships includes skydiving competitions both in freefall and under canopy. The freefall events include teams of two, four and six skydivers racing against the clock to complete pre-determined formations while falling in excess of 120 mph. The canopy events challenge skydivers to steer their parachutes to land as close as possible to a target on the ground.

Traditionally, the military academies-the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs and the U.S. Military Academy in West Point, New York-dominate the championships, and this year was no exception. Skydivers from the two academies brought home all the gold medals except for one: A 4-person team from the University of Connecticut earned the gold in the advanced 4-way formation skydiving event.

Despite the stiff competition, the National Collegiate Parachuting Championships is best known for the camaraderie it generates among fellow collegiate skydivers. The event includes skydivers of all experience levels-those with less than 100 jumps to those with close to 1,000-from collegiate skydiving clubs of all sizes as they come together to have fun in the sky and on the ground.