... that Fastrax Select is ready for the pressure at the FSL Shamrock Showdown 2005?
posted Mar 16th, 2005 -
The NSL News story of February 22
had offered general information of the Women's 4-way class history in the U.S.A. The same story also mentioned that there would be a new team challenging the current U.S. national team and world champion, Synchronicity.
The NSL News followed up with another story on February 24. This time, the challenger, Fastrax Select, was introduced with profiles of the team members and more background information. The NSL News had visited the Fastrax February training camp in Lake Wales and collected additional information of both Fastrax line-ups.
The NSL News story on March 9 offered insights after this visit and covered the male line-up of Team Fastrax. The female Fastrax line-up with Michelle Carlstrom, Elisa Behnk, Kris Byrne and Tammi Rettig also provided the NSL News with additional insights by then.
Fastrax Select in Lake Wales with old jumpsuits
The NSL News was fortunate enough to be on site when each of the team members experienced new personal records. The new team team had a total of 43 jumps together before they met in Lake Wales. The 22 jumps on Thursday, February 17, was by far more than any of the new Fastrax Select members had ever done on one day at previous training camps. Team Fastrax founder John Hart had made it possible by including the female line-up in the Fastrax project.
The Fastrax Select training camp continued in Lake Wales until Sunday, February 20, while the male line-up was done with more than 150 jumps under the belt on Friday of the same week. Fastrax player coach Niklas Hemlin remained on site to work with Fastrax Select for the remainder of the camp, as well. Hemlin also coaches the team while Fastrax is training, as mucb as time allows.
Arrival of new Fastrax jumpsuits
The NSL News asked the Fastrax Select members to provide their own story of how the team was put together and included in the Fastrax project. Team founder and sponsor John Hart had already provided this background information from his own perspective in the March 9 story.
Michelle Carlstrom confirmed that she met with John Hart at the USPA Championship 2004 in Perris. However, she had already met with Fastrax members at a training camp in DeLand in 2003 and kept in touch. Carlstrom and her "Down to Earth" teammates Elisa Behnk and Kris Byrne gave Fastrax a lot of credit for their performance in Perris and when they ended up on the podium.
Carlstrom discussed a women's Fastrax line-up with Hart after the competition in Perris, and they agreed on the goal to give Synchronicity a better competition. Hart offered to follow up and discuss the details. The three Down to Earth 2004 members made plans for 2005 and asked Tammi Rettig to join the team.
2004 Down to Earth members Elias Behnk, Michelle Carlstrom and Kris Byrne
All Fastrax Select members emphasized that they are extremely grateful that John Hart gave them the opportunity to join the Fasrax Project. They feel that Hart's vision and his support of the team will help the competition with additional motivation and competitive spirit.
The NSL News was also interested in the team members' views of the recent dive pool and rule changes. The Select members make just as much fun of the Star as a Random Formation as the Fastrax males. Block 5 (Opal - Opal) seemed to be an easy change. Select was still waiting for coach Hemlin's input on the technique by the time of the interview.
Fastrax Select had not trained the new block techniques by then. Block 12 (Bundy - Bundy) sounded interesting and not difficult to the team members. The new penalty rules should make the actual judging easier. However, it will still be necessary to observe the results of the first meets.
Fastrax Select 2005 line-up
The Select members thought that higher scores and a faster pace could still challenge the goal of easier judging. Although the general trend of very clean skydiving should not be effected, the judges might still be challenged with a faster pace and new team strategies.
Last topic of the interview was the Women's Class in general. All Fastrax Select members like the situation of competing directly with males in the same class and even in the same team. "This is generally a unique situation in sports," mentioned PR professional Elisa Behnk. Kris Byrne added: "However, we all like the female style of skydiving, which seems to be smoother than the male style. We all have experienced man-handling in freefall and do not like it."
The three former Down to Earth members have tried for three years to build a team that would be on the same scoring level and competitive with Synchronicity. They learned that it is very difficult to catch up with a top team without the necessary resources. Finally, they have the chance to make it happen with Fastrax Select.
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Team work at the Lake Wales camp
500 jumps is the team goal for this year. There will be additional long weekend training camps with Team Fastrax in Lake Wales each month until May. The training will then continue on the Fastrax hometurf in Greensburg, Indiana. The Fastrax Select members make no secret of the team goal: "We want to compete at the world championship, so we have to win this year."
The FSL Shamrock Showdown 2005 will be the first competition for Fastrax Select. The team looks forward to the challenge and knows that the pressure will be on. "We have to learn to live with this kind of meet pressure, as we have discussed and agreed on with our coach and Team Fastrax", explains Kris Byrne. Fastrax Select will also compete at the events of the Mideast Skydiving League 2005. The Shamrock Showdown is only three days away.