THE Hong Kong Sports Institute's new head coach, Chan Yiu-hoi, has said the development of swimming in the territory is being severely stifled by the government's reluctance to provide full-time training facilities. Chan said that Hong Kong must act quickly to establish dedicated training centres around the territory if the sport is to progress. But he said that the 2,000-odd active swimmers who could benefit from such centres are being deprived of the chance because of the lack of facilities. Chan, who this month succeeded Australian Bill Sweetenham for the head coach post, said Hong Kong's developing swimmers do not spend enough time in the training pool. 'It is so difficult to get the Urban Services Department and Regional Council to give us enough facilities for training,' said Chan. 'We approached them about this issue, but they said that they have to maintain a balance between the public use of the pools and our training. 'There are many clubs who do not have their own pools. Swimmers who want to train seriously only have about three or four hours training a week. 'I don't consider that training, that is only recreation. Serious training requires 20 to 30 hours a week.' No relevant USD representative was available for comment yesterday. He said that his swimmers use the Kowloon Park and Morrison Hill swimming pools in Wan Chai for training. But the time spent training at these pools is limited because of public use. Chan added that the training pool at the Institute cannot cater to the needs of all swimmers wanting to make the top grade and many find it difficult travelling to the Sha Tin complex from various parts of Hong Kong. He said that most of the elite training is done between 5 am and 7.30 am, but most public pools are unwilling to open so early for the swimmers. 'I think we have excellent coaches in Hong Kong, who have a lot of good ideas for development,' said Chan, who is not aware of any government plans to build dedicated training venues in the territory. 'The only problem now is the facilities. 'We need more training centres if we are to develop our talent. The USD and Regional Council must understand this.' Chan is trying to activate a programme designed by his predecessor Sweetenham, who wants to see the standards of swimming raised significantly at club level. Sweetenham, in a paper presented to the Institute before his departure, envisaged four or five high-performance training centres scattered around Hong Kong, each with its own coach, with Chan overseeing the entire programme. Sweetenham, who returned to his native Australia after more than three years in Hong Kong, stressed that the programme must be initiated immediately if the territory want to bring back medals from the 1998 Asian Games in Bangkok. The problem facing swimming is only one part of a wide-ranging issue affecting most sports in Hong Kong. The Sports Development Board, in its original four-year plan for the future of Hong Kong sport, outlined the need to set up more venue-based sporting clubs, allowing athletes unlimited use of its facilities. However, the municipal councils believe their their sporting halls and other facilities should be primarily for public use. Chan, meanwhile, is hoping that US-based Anne-Marie Munk will return to the Hong Kong national squad. Munk, who swam for Hong Kong at the 1988 Olympics in Seoul, was in the territory last month. Said Chan: 'She is looking as fit as she was when she last swam for Hong Kong and it would be good if she swims for us.' He is hoping that Munk, now 21, will be available for the territory in this year's two major events, the Colombia Pacific Games in June and August's Pan-Pacific Championships in Atlanta, where the 1996 Olympic Games will be held. But he warned that only in-form swimmers will be selected to the Pan-Pacific event. It would also be the first time that Hong Kong swimmers have taken part in the Pacific Games.