It was wet, wet, wet on day 1 at the Nationals. Clearly, a huge part of this 4-way competition will be based on mental toughness and the ability to just roll with things. Many teams came to the DZ not even expecting to make a skydive today - the very fact that all of round 1 was completed for the intermediate category was an accomplishment. Teams are having to juggle between going from a relaxed frame of mind to suddenly being on call and putting game-faces on, and then back to being in relaxed mode. Over a period of time, that will weigh on the teams...again, those that will be most flexible will be successful as these kind of competitive conditions are stressful.
As mentioned earlier, there are 33 teams competing in the intermediate category of 4-way...amazingly, the two teams from Skydive Carolina are on the top of the leaderboard....Virginia Tech leads with 12 points and Ice is a close 2 points behind with 10. It's still early with a lot of skydiving left to be made, but there are some interesting scenarios as these two teams match up. Ice have the experience that Tech does not, but Tech has the youthful exuberance that will raise their game an extra notch...what could be most interesting will be how the weather effects the competition. Consider this: if the rain continues to fall and the meet is less than 10 rounds...how tightly will these teams be bunched? It's early days, but the scenarios are interesting to think about.
On another exciting note, the Advanced class is being led by the SDC Furies. One of the team members for the Furies is Rhonda Wilcox - a member of the Skydive Carolina community. Naturally, we have a vested interest in the Furies and hope they bring home the gold.
Skydive Spaceland is having its coming out party with these Nationals. It seems obvious that it will just be a matter of time before a tunnel is constructed on-site as they have everything else. There are two massive hangars, a brand new swoop pond, restaurant, gear store, air-conditioned packing area...Steve Boyd (DZO of Spaceland) must be commended for his vision for this place. It's first class. On another note, coverage of the nationals has never been better as seen at uspanationals.com; the DZ is doing a marvelous job with the weather challenges of this event, but with a fleet of five Otters, they will get caught up very quickly. The meet director for these Nationals is Scott Smith who last ran a Nationals when it was held at Perris Valley several years ago. Smith seems to be coping with the pressure just fine through this long day.
Clearly Skydive Spaceland can be considered one of the top skydiving centers in the nation to be mentioned in the same breath as Skydive Chicago.
So, that's all from Day 1. Video from Ice's Round 1 will be posted tomorrow.