CENTENNIAL, Colo. — A Colorado native is making a big name for herself.
Eleven-year-old Sydney Kennett is in sixth grade. She enjoys dirt biking, skiing, camping with her family — and she’s also a competitive indoor skydiver.
“My dad took me because he was a skydiver,” she said.
Kennett has been indoor skydiving for 2 1/2 years. After one year with the sport, she decided to start competing. And it turns out, she’s really good.
“She’s not just good for her age but she’s amazing in the sport of flying period,” her coach, Mike Silva, said.
He said Kennett has won several gold medals. And, in most of the competitions, most of the other competitors are adults.
“You’d probably name them on two hands the amount of kids that could do the kind of skills that she does in the U.S.,” Silva said.
The sport combines aerial dance, acrobatics, flexibility, stability and courage.
Flyers perform the moves inside a wind tunnel with wind speeds between 90 and 140 mph, which is comparable up to a Category 4 hurricane.
“Freestyle flying is where you perform tricks and maneuvers kind of like in a floor routine in gymnastics or diving. And you’re graded on your difficulty and execution,” Silva said.
While freestyle is Kennett’s specialty, she also competes in vertical formation skydiving (VFS) and dynamic skydiving.
VFS is where a team of flyers must perform a series of formations as quickly as possible.
Dynamic skydivers compete as teams and attempt to move through a series of flips and maneuvers as quickly as possible.
“It’s incredibly rare to see someone fly in different disciplines of skydiving and be that good at it but at that age to be a multi discipline athlete is also incredibly impressive,” Silva said.
Kennett said her favorite things about the sport are the feeling of freedom inside the tunnel and the people she meets from all over the world at competitions.
“I want to become, like they have Worlds of indoor skydiving competing, so I want be a first place world person,” Kennett said.
In other words, her goal is to be the best in the world. And with her skill and natural talent, one day, she could be.
“She’s like a fish in water when she gets flying,” Silva said.
Kennett trains at iFly Denver.