WATCH | A team of skydivers based in California are flying high after their big win last week at the U.S. Parachute Association Skydiving National Championships, held in Arizona.
"Every time I jump out of the airplane, I look around. I look at the mountains, I look at the desert. I always appreciate the view."
—Lelo Mras, skydiving national champion
Team "Top Secret" members, Lelo Mras, Kevin Chirico, Russell Gililland and Skip Kingery took home the gold in the advanced division during the competition. "I feel alive when I do it," said Mras, who has been skydiving since 1995.
Falling at speeds of 180 mph
Mras said he has made about 9,600 jumps and hopes to make it to 10,000 by the end of the year. Mras and Chirico work at Skydive Taft, one of the oldest skydiving schools in California.
The teams at the USPA National Championships perform high-precision acrobatics while falling at speeds up to 180 miles per hour, and don't even know which set of skills they have to perform until right before the competition. They are judged on the number and accuracy of the movements they perform.
A mixture of meditation and fun
"It was a relief knowing we performed where we were proud at the end of the day," said Chirico. "And we happened to win."
Like most sports, Chirico said much of skydiving is mental.
"There's this misconception that it's high adrenaline," he said -- for him, it's a mix of meditation and just plain fun.
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