GT skydiving club breaks record over break

Often, amidst a boring lecture or hour long study session students tend to daydream, staring out the window longingly, fantasizing about weekend plans. The members of the Georgia Tech skydiving club are no different.

“I often fantasize about skydiving off of the top of the Bank of America building,” said Dan Brady, a first-year PHYS major who has recently joined the skydiving club.

Brady first skydived on his 18th birthday and has jumped out of a plane nearly thirty times since then.

“It started with skydiving signs, I saw them everywhere. I wanted to join [the skydiving team] because it was the coolest thing on campus,”  Brady said.

Formed in 1969, the Georgia Tech Skydiving Club is one of the oldest in the nation and can boast over 100 medals in competitions all over the United States.

“We’re a group of the best collegiate skydivers in the nation,” said John Nahabedian, President of GT skydiving and a fourth-year BIO major.

Each weekend the twenty member strong club rides in caravans to the drop zone. The days spent there are taken full advantage of as students with hundreds of jumps coach those that are still new to the sport.

“We have good funding and pass down knowledge and coaching. We try and group people with equal skill level. The more experienced [students] coach the less experienced,”  Nahabedian said.

The club’s dedication to the sport seems to pay off. Many of the members of the club have graduated to become world famous professional skydivers who have broken records and made parachuting headlines.

Fall is the main competition season with two or three state competitions and one national competition. This past year, Tech received a record-breaking gold medals in the national competition.

The skydiving club splits its members in multiple teams for competitions. Teams compete for accuracy and formation jumps.

“[My favorite part] of skydiving is the national competitions. There are 500 skydivers there and it’s really cool to be around these communities,”  Nahabedian said.

Over winter break six members participated in a world record 32 people formation. Tech was tied with West Point for the most representation.

“In March, I’ll be participating in a 220-person formation,” said Greg Lennartz, a fourth year ISYE major with 700 jumps. “[The jump] almost puts that first jump fear back in you. You never get that feeling again until you start doing more dangerous things, but that’s what happens when you get better.”

Though the jumps become more complicated with experience, safety is always kept in mind.

With fewer injuries than most popular sports, skydiving offers a safe and exciting way to relax after a strenuous week at school.

“It’s nice to put things in perspective. The moment I’m in the air I forget about my schoolwork and enjoy myself,”  Lennartz said.

Though the club does not require its members to be certified skydivers or have any skydiving experience, it offers advantages only collegiate teams have.

“[GT skydiving] is the cheapest way to skydive in the world,” Nahabedian said.

The club requires $50 dues that allow the members to use all of the club gear and jump for $19.

“It becomes part of your life,” Nahabedian said.

“It’s a passion. It’s the most fun you can have with your clothes on. Every location, every group of people, everything’s different,” Lennartz said.

The club meets Thursdays at 7 p.m. in room 243 in the CRC .