The SAVOLO 4-Way Formation Skydiving team was founded in 2012 by Alex Jordaan, Amy Kirtland, Bailey Edmunds, Dirk Venter and Warren Hitchcock. Our objective was to create a team that would love training and competing together and could stay together for a while and build some history and experience. We managed 42 training jumps together before competing at the South African skydiving nationals in 2012 where we placed second.
The same lineup continued for another season and after only 30 training jumps due to Alex living and working in Dubai at the time once again competed at nationals in 2013 where we placed 1st, becoming the national champions.
For the 2014/2015 season Dirk Venter was not able to continue with the team and was replaced by Andre Van Heerden, a South African living and working in New York City. Alex also relocated to New York from Dubai, while Amy, Bailey and Warren were still living and working in Johannesburg, South Africa. The team met for a training camp in Arizona, USA late in 2013 where we did 6 hours of indoor wind tunnel training and 35 jumps.
SAVOLO managed another 27 training jumps in South Africa just prior to nationals in April of 2014 for a total of 62 team jumps (we were of course jumping and competing individually) and although it was a fraction of the intended training plan, we managed to win the nationals and qualify for the World Parachuting Championships to be held in the Czech Republic in August 2014.
The team travelled to the Czech Republic for the Formation Skydiving World Championships in August 2014. Amy was not able to make it to the competition venue until the eve before the competition so the rest of the team employed the services of coach Pete Allum who filled a slot for 30 training jumps. The competition was a great learning experience and provided some unique challenges. We ended the competition with a score slightly lower than we achieves at nationals which was expected based on our training.
Due to conflicting individual schedules the team was not able to attend any training camps before SA nationals in April 2015. In addition to the lack of training Andre was not able to make the trip to South African for the competition. The team employed the services of Debbie Lamsley, a South African living and jumping in the UK and did 12 training jumps in the 2 days before nationals.
The team had an excellent meet and managed to win and retain the national title for a third consecutive year.
After some discussion SAVOLO decided to invest a considerable amount of time and money into the next season. The team has done well until now on relatively little training. The goal now is to do 4 training camps in the US with coach Thomas Hughes as well as a couple of indoor competitions. The goal is to win the SA nationals in 2016 again and then continue to the World Championships in Chicago, USA also in 2016.
For the 2016 season the team had made some personnel changes. Andre Van Heerden has moved to alternate and Debbie Lamsley joined the team full time. This change relieved a lot of the time pressure that Andre had and provides the team with a highly trained and experienced alternate that most importantly knows the team and can fill in on any slot should the need arise for training or competition.