A Nashua woman won two gold medals last week at the 2018 National Collegiate Parachuting Championships in Phoenix. Rhianna Sullivan, a sophomore at the University of Connecticut, had completed nearly 300 skydives before entering the competition, billed as the oldest and biggest collegiate skydiving event in the world.
Sullivan was among 13 UConn students who joined 73 college skydivers from around the country in competing for the title of national champion in four events: formation skydiving, vertical formation skydiving, sport accuracy and classic accuracy.
Sullivan, a natural resources major, won her medals in classic accuracy and advanced four-way formation skydiving as part of her team, CT True Blue.
In classic accuracy, jumpers drop from an airplane and steer their parachutes for a dime-sized dot on a landing “tuffet” more than 3,000 feet below. In four-way formation skydiving, a team leaps from an aircraft more than two miles above the ground and races against the clock to form prescribed geometric formations in free-fall before opening their parachutes.
The UConn team, which jumps and trains at Connecticut Parachutists Inc. in Ellington, was the only winner that did not come from one of the U.S. military academies.
The championships were sponsored by the United States Parachute Association, a nationwide non-profit association that promotes safe skydiving by establishing strict safety standards, training policies and programs at more than 220 USPA-affiliated skydiving schools and centers throughout the United States.
Photo of Sullivan: USPA/David Wybenga
Photo of CT True Blue team skydiving: USPA/David Cherry
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