Sydney Kennett just shattered a world record. It's not official yet, but by witness accounts and a video recording, it's almost certain the 12-year-old from Parker not only beat the previous world record for the most box split spins in one minute, but nearly doubled it.
On Sept. 30 at iFly Denver in Lone Tree, the region's only indoor skydiving facility, Kennett drew a sizable crowd to watch the world record attempt. In a white helmet and all-black elastic suit, Kennett showed off her flying ability, superhero-esque in Converse sneakers.
The stunt looked like something from a science fiction film at first. Kennett floated and twirled around the wind tunnel as a warm-up. As soon as she gave the thumbs-up, she kicked her legs out in the form of aerial splits, arms outstretched, and as if propelled from some unknown source began spinning 360 degrees at a pace of more than one full spin per second.
After the attempt, Kennett found solid ground and collapsed on a nearby bench in exhaustion.
“I got really dizzy,” Kennett said. Naturally.
In one minute, Kennett completed 77 spins. It's almost impossible to count in real time. The current official record is 30 spins in a minute. Once some paperwork is filed with a representative from Guinness World Records, Kennett will be recognized as the fastest box split spinner in the world.
Kennett has been flying for more than three years and has already become a figure at iFly. The facility sponsors her and her world record attempts. In her attempt Sept. 30 she hit the wall a couple times, meaning not all of the 77 spins will count in the record. Still, the feat is remarkable.
Kennett is one of the box split world record holders at the Lone Tree indoor skydiving facility. And one of the youngest.
“She is very unique and naturally talented,” said iFly sales manager Marc Gibbons. “But there's no doubt she's worked hard for what she achieved.”
Kennett has dedicated herself to the sport of “flying.” She is home-schooled so she can travel around the country competing and training and has an Instagram account with 11,000 followers and counting. She learned the acrobatics from her time doing gymnastics. Wind tunnel is her sport now, and she's one of the best at it.
iFly has become a mecca for record seekers. Rebranded in 2005, members and instructors can try myriad tricks and stunts for the hope of a world record. In 2013, Guinness began recognizing indoor skydiving records across the globe. In 2016 the trend caught on and with people all over the world, from Australia to Europe and the United States, dozens of indoor skydiving records are being set at iFly.
The facility allows customers to emulate the sensation of skydiving by stepping in a wind tunnel blowing air at 140 mph. The iFly in Lone Tree is the only one in Colorado.
Kennett doesn't like to talk about her accomplishments. She's made friends all over the country competing in the sport and has made her name known around the world. There's not a lot of flying competition in Denver, so she and her family travel to places like Chicago and San Diego to compete.
While people close to Kennett said she's one of the most driven kids they've known, to Kennett it was simple:
“I just wanted to set a world record.”