University of Bath-based skeleton athlete David Swift finally enjoyed a golden moment when he registered the first win of his nine-year international career on Wednesday.
The 31-year-old beat 42 other sliders to triumph in the penultimate race of the Europa Cup season in St Moritz, boosting his chances of being selected in the GB team for this month’s World Championships.
Swift, who has competed in more than 80 senior races, had previously claimed silver and bronze medals on the Europa and Intercontinental Cup circuits.
“It’s taken a long time but it’s such a nice feeling hearing your national anthem blaring out above the podium,” said Swift, who was in second spot at the end of Run 1.
“Training had gone really well this week and last so I had fairly high expectations but there’s a big difference between performing well in training and racing, and that’s something I’ve struggled with historically.
Swift produced the two fastest start times, with his effort of 4.84 in the second run a full tenth of a second ahead of his closest rival.
The 2008 Junior World Championship silver medalist produced a stunning second run to finish 0.67 seconds ahead of second-placed Fabian Kuechler, having trailed the German by one hundredth of a second at the halfway stage.
Swift has slid on both the World Cup and ICC circuits so far this season and will hope to make the GB World Championship team when it is announced in early February.
“I’ve been nursing a couple of niggles over the last month but (physio) Charli Roberston and (start coach) Ed McDermott have been managing it really well,” he said.
“It definitely gives me confidence going forward for the remainder of the season. I’m keen to build momentum now and perform where it matters.”
Fellow Brit Jack Thomas claimed his third top ten finish of the season as he came eighth in the same race, with Jerry Rice 12th and James Howard 17th.
Swift didn’t slide in the final race of the Europa Cup season on Thursday as Kenny Howard finished fifth, Rice 11th, James Howard 12th and Thomas 17th.
The British Bobsleigh & Skeleton Association is based at the University of Bath Sports Training Village.