Coach advises Wright to stay

NATIONAL coach Bill Sweetenham has advised veteran swimmer Michael Wright against retirement - and the Hong Kong sprinter has vowed to continue swimming competitively.

Wright said during August's Commonwealth Games in Victoria, Canada, that he would retire after this week's Games to pursue a coaching career.

But Sweetenham said the 28-year-old Wright still has a lot to offer Hong Kong in both competition and as an inspiration to teammates.

'Michael is probably the only 28-year-old swimmer in the world who is still getting better,' said Sweetenham.

'I think he should keep swimming. If he wants to coach, maybe he could do it on a part-time basis and concentrate on the 50 metres freestyle.' Sweetenham added that Wright's continued presence in the team was crucial in helping to motivate the younger swimmers.

'If you look at a team like Australia, they have five or six very good swimmers and the rest of the squad swim off them,' said Sweetenham, who leaves for Australia at the end of the year after four years as head swimming coach of the Hong Kong Sports Institute.

'Michael can provide a similar role with the Hong Kong team.' Wright, who is still interested in coaching, said he would find it very difficult to give up competition completely.

'I know my 50 metres freestyle time can come down,' said Wright. 'My body still feels like it did when I was 21 and I'd like to keep swimming.'