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Longmont man sets world record in skydiving

10:58 AM, Dec 21, 2012   |    comments
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Batsch won gold in the distance event and set a new world record for longest distance with 154.09 meters, surpassing his previous world record of 151.95 meters, which he set earlier this year.

Batsch earned his slot on the U.S. Parachute Team, the country's most elite aerial athletes, earlier this year at the U.S. Parachute Association National Skydiving Championships of Canopy Piloting. He joined a delegation of more than 60 U.S. skydivers in multiple disciplines to represent the United States at the biggest and most prestigious skydiving competition in the world.

Professional skydiver Nick Batsch jumps for many different reasons. Whether he's diving to break world records (which he's done five times) or to commemorate fallen friends (who have accumulated over the years), Batsch says his motivation is always evolving.

Reaching speeds of nearly 100 miles per hour, canopy pilots, also known as "swoopers," fly small, high-performance canopies - about 33 percent of the size of a normal parachute - to increase their speed and power. Swoopers jump from around 5,500 feet, spiral down toward the ground with their canopy deployed and take a sharp turn just before hitting the ground. They then fly horizontally through the air just a few feet from the ground, seeming to defy gravity. Their performance is measured in three categories: distance, speed and accuracy.

Since joining the sport in 2006, Batsch has not only tested his own limits, he has pioneered and pushed the limits of the sport itself, cementing him self as one of the best in the business, according to Nancy Koreen, the United States Parachuting Association's (USPA) director of sport promotion.

"He's definitely at the top of his field and has been for quite a few years," Koreen says. "Some of the world records he's set have far surpassed any of his competitors."

In 2011, Batsch went up against 100 competitors from 24 countries at the World Cup of Canopy Piloting in Klatovy, Czech Republic. He dethroned the reigning canopy pilot champion, Canadian Jay Moledzki, who had long been considered the best in the sport.

"That was just an amazing moment for me - something I had been working up to for six years," Batsch says. "It takes a long time to defeat someone who is such a great athlete in the all-around events."

(KUSA-TV © 2012 Multimedia Holdings Corporation)

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