DAVID SWIFT – Team GB Skeleton Slider

The Bad the Good and the Possible!

So the 2014-2015 season is almost at an end and it has been a bit of a roller-coaster journey so to speak. The first half of the season started off promisingly however I began to train faster than I would race and my results really weren’t reflective of what I knew was achievable. Races in Lillehammer, Winterberg and Konigssee reflected very strong start times with some average overall finishing positions, the one race that did go well was the second one in Konigssee where a field featuring a fair few World Cup sliders was actually at its strongest. A 7th place finish there with some strong speeds and downtimes was the silver lining of an otherwise unremarkable first half of the season.

So the second half saw us compete on the other side of the Atlantic and a dramatic change of fortunes. My coach and I managed to identify a couple of things that we needed to change to get the best out of my driving ability and the improvement in performance was remarkable. I won’t go into too many details but a change of outlook in how I approach my sliding started paying dividends resulting in some really great results. A 10th and 11th place in Whistler which has historically been my bogey track started the momentum rolling and it finished with a 6th and 4th place finish in Calgary. The consequence of these improved results…the final run of the final race saw me score enough points to overtake the overall circuit points leader and take first place overall. After a very mixed season I was crowned the Overall ICC circuit winner. Always great to hear your own National Anthem with a great big trophy in your hands!!

The change in fortunes however didn’t end there, this string of results meant that I was invited up to the World Cup circuit for the race in Igls Austria. Exciting stuff seeing as I had thought my season was over in Calgary. However the Igls race was another chance to put my new race routine to the test in front of the TV cameras. Two runs later, with Personal Best push times that put me right up there with the World’s best and two solid drives I found myself in 7th place and celebrating my best ever finish on a Skeleton sled! The relief and enjoyment I felt crossing the finish line with a finish like that was like nothing I had ever experienced and it was a huge relief to finally show the world the type of results I’m capable of, especially when I’ve known results like that have been possible for years.

That final result coupled with the strong ICC season has seen me finish the year ranked 20th in the World and now having been selected for my first ever World Championships in a couple of weeks’ time. I am genuinely over the moon at finally managing to have achieved a World Championships spot, it has been a culmination of so many years of hard work and sacrifice and will certainly be the biggest race of my career, however it comes at a great time, I feel I am in good form and I’m really looking forward to my first major senior championships. It will be a great experience and hopefully one that carries my momentum forwards towards the 2018 Olympics.

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