Pressure is on as Swift seeks return to Sochi

22 October 2013 / 07:19

David Swift was the first British skeleton slider to tackle Sochi's Olympic track - but he admits qualifying for the Games will be even tougher.

Swift, ranked 29th in the world last season, is one of four British sliders going for three available World Cup places at this week's team trials in Altenberg.

And whoever gets the nod after four runs in Germany will then have the added responsibility of qualifying up to three quota places for the Olympics, which will be decided over the first seven rounds of the World Cup circuit.

Of the British sliders in contention Swift, who split his time last season between the World Cup and second tier Intercontinental Cup circuit, is the lowest ranked but insists his confidence is high.

"We are rivals but we are also relying on each other to qualify as many slots as possible for the Olympics," he said.

"Someone will be disappointed this week and my aim is to make sure that I'm not that one - but this internal competition drives us forward and no-one is resting on their laurels.

"Making the World Cup team doesn't guarantee Olympic selection but it does set you up nicely. There is still a potential route if you don't make it but I'm not thinking of that right now.

"We're in a good position and, if all three selected sliders perform, we should qualify three slots for Sochi as well.

"With our results and the world-class support we get, being a British slider can give you a psychological edge but the pressure we have to be successful is nothing compared to the pressure of 5 G's on your head. 

"However, it drives us forward and that's a good thing for us."

Former world champion Kristan Bromley, 41, is the most experienced of those in contention as he looks to make a fourth Olympic team while Dominic Parsons and Ed Smith both enjoyed solid performances last season.

But should he earn selection Swift insists the Sanki Sliding Centre, a 1215 metre track with 19 turns in Rzhanaya Polyana, perfectly suits his style.

"I really enjoyed spending some time at Sochi," he added. "I was one of the first sliders to go down the track and certainly the first Brit, because I was drawn out randomly when they were looking for people to validate it.

"There is an element of speed, you still are hitting 130kmph, but there are some real technical sections to the track as well. 

"It's complete contrast to Vancouver, which was a very in your face and angry track. Sochi really flows and while it's easy to get down, it's very difficult to do it fast.

"Overall it's just great to slide on, I just hope I get the chance next year."

© Sportsbeat 2013