UConn graduates win national skydiving championship for the second year in a row

University of Connecticut graduates Sarah Chamberlain and Jeff Harrigan recently became the national champions of wingsuit flying for the second year in a row. According to the United States Parachute Association (USPA), Chamberlin and Harrigan’s team will compete at the 2018 World Cup Championships.

Harrigan said the UConn Skydiving Club was a key part in kickstarting his skydiving career.

“I overheard someone in one of my English classes...talking about the skydiving class they just signed up for,” Harrigan said. “So I turned around for more [information]. A couple weeks later, we went out to the drop zone for the First Jump Course and I’ve been out there every weekend since.”

The UConn Skydiving Club provides skydiving rigs in various sizes for all skill levels, Harrigan said. The club also helps to provide training, including time in what Harrigan describes as a skydiving simulator, which helped him build body control skills in a freefall.

Harrigan graduated from UConn in 2011, but came back to UConn in 2013 to continue his education, he said, largely because of the benefits UConn’s Skydiving Club provides.

Skydiving introduced Harrigan to aviation and he developed a love for it, Harrigan said. He went back to school for an engineering degree and now works at Pratt & Whitney, a Connecticut based aeronautics manufacturer. He credits the UConn Skydiving Club for where he is today and his career.

He met his teammate and now girlfriend Sarah Chamberlain at the drop zone.

“[We] won Nationals for Wingsuit Acro this year, and we both won the National and World titles in Wingsuit Acro last year. Before that, Sarah and I won several medals together on the UConn team,” Harrigan said.

“I encourage people to look into the statistics behind tandem skydiving,” Harrigan said. “I’ve never seen someone come down from a tandem and not enjoy it.”


Ashley Anglisano is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at ashley.anglisano@uconn.edu.