Stamford teen to represent USA in indoor skydiving world cup next year

Photo of Andrew DaRosa

Jill Knutson, 15, of Stamford, has qualified to represent the country in the 2022 International Air Sports Federation World Cup of Indoor Skydiving in Belgium next April.

Last month, Knutson qualified for the world cup after her team, Volare, a "4-Way Dynamic" indoor skydiving team, won a silver medal at the U.S. Indoor Skydiving National tournament in Texas, according to a press release. 

The team is the first-ever, all-female 4-Way Dynamic team to qualify for the world cup. 

The sport of indoor skydiving involves athletes being suspended in the air by high winds in a controlled chamber where they perform synchronized movements and aerobatic tricks as a team. Teams are graded on the technicality of their formations as they're in the tube, according to the International Skydiving Commission, which oversees the international, competitve-level skydiving competitions. 

"It’s essentially a simulated free fall," Knutson explained, adding that there are also "lots of different styles" when it comes to indoor skydiving mechanics. 

Over 60 countries are represented in the International Skydiving Commission. According to a press release, indoor skydiving was first recognized as a sport by the World Air Sports Federation in 2014. 

“It’s a dream,” Knutson said. "We had trained for more than a year as a team. It was really satisfying to know that we earned our place in the world cup.”

In addition to her involvement with Volare, Knutson earned a bronze medal at the U.S. Indoor Skydiving National tournament with her 2-Way Dynamic team that features fellow Volare teammate, Bella Capra. Together, they compete as Team Rosewater.

Knutson first got involved in indoor skydiving roughly five years ago when she tried it out for fun. However, she quickly took interest in the "athletic aspect" of the sport.

"After trying it once for fun with my family, I really fell in love with it and as I learned more and more about the athletic side, I found that it was something that I really wanted to pursue," she said.

After being recognized for her talent, professional skydiving coach Mike Wittenburg approached her to help form a new skydiving team: Team Volare.

Team Volare is comprised of Knutson; Gianna Keuer, 15, from Barrington, Ill.; Kianna Adamson, 15, from Denver, Colo. and Capra, 13, from Portland, Ore.

Since then, Knutson has competed around the country for indoor skydiving and in her free time, helps train younger skydivers. 

"Since it’s such a niche sport, the community is small but it’s really welcoming and its really [the] team-based values that I enjoy," Knutson said. "This is something that I will be doing as an adult in some capacity. I think that it’ll only grow."

Knutson added that she'd also like to explore outdoor skydiving as she gets older.

For those interested in learning how to indoor skydive, Knutson has one piece of advice: "keep at it."

"I have about less than five years of experience, and I‘ve persevered so much that I was able to qualify for worlds [with] so little experience," Knutson said. "It’s amazing what someone can do when they have their mind set on something."