Lewis goes from junior champ to so-so senior

"Me? But I only finished sixth!"

That was Australian swimmer Clyde Lewis' response when a public relations staffer at the Fina/airweave Swimming World Cup approached him for an interview after his men's 50 backstroke final last Saturday.

The reply encapsulated the contrast in his fortunes, between the Fina World Junior Championships here last year and his transition to the senior stage.

"It's about coming back to the same place, trying to do the same things and trying to get the same performances," said the 18-year-old, who won the 200m individual medley world junior title at the OCBC Aquatic Centre last year.

Lewis (above) was also part of the Australian relay teams that took silver and bronze in the 4x200m free and 4x100m medley, respectively.

He was among four individual winners last year - the others were Kyle Chalmers, Tamsin Cook and Minna Atherton - as Australia topped the medal table with nine golds, seven silvers and three bronzes.

However, while Chalmers has gone on to win the men's 100m free gold at the Rio Olympics, with Cook finishing sixth in the women's 400m free, Atherton and Lewis did not make the Australian Olympic squad.

"This year has been my first crack at the senior level," said Lewis. "Although there are heaps of people ahead of me, I am still enjoying it."

The individual medley specialist has season-best times of 2min 0.09sec and 4:16.58 respectively in the men's 200m and 400m IM, which places him 43rd and 39th in the world rankings respectively.

Teammates Thomas Fraser-Holmes, Daniel Tranter, Justin James and Mitch Larkin are faster than him in the 200m IM, while Fraser-Holmes and Travis Mahoney are ahead of him in the 400m IM.

While most elite swimmers crave Olympic success, with many already setting their sights on Tokyo 2020, Lewis is setting himself more modest targets.

"The Commonwealth Games (in Gold Coast in 2018) is definitely a big long-term goal," he said.

"Of course I want to go to the Olympics, but it's important to keep your head level, keep your eye on your targets and not make outrageous goals yet."


Retirement in the horizon for Yeo

Freestyle specialist thinking about retirement, but still sets short-term goals

When he failed to qualify for the Rio Olympics earlier this year, Singapore swimmer Danny Yeo penned a long post on social media, citing his disappointment but thanking his coaches and supporters.

The 26-year-old also wrote that he felt a "sense of peace and calmness", as he had given his best.

After competing at the recent Fina/airweave Swimming World Cup Singapore at the OCBC Aquatic Centre, Yeo told The New Paper that he has considered hanging up his goggles this year.


"I am one of the oldest guys in the national squad and (retirement) definitely crossed my mind before," said the 2011 South-east Asia (SEA) Games men's 200m freestyle gold medallist.

"But I think it's not the time yet... if I can still make a contribution to the team, I will definitely still swim, be it in the individual events or the relays."

While some of his teammates who have also failed in their push for the Rio Olympics have already committed themselves to major meets on the horizon such as the 2018 Asian Games and even the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, Yeo is hesitant to set long-term targets for himself.

"I have been through a lot in these two years," said the freestyle specialist, who has collected seven SEA Games relay gold medals since 2009.

"I had dengue this year, and before that I also had a shoulder injury, as well as tonsillitis.

"I am getting older, I am not sure how much more my body can take, so I am just taking it one meet at a time."

He said he will be competing at the short-course world championships in Canada in December, and will be aiming to compete at the SEA Games in Kuala Lumpur next year.

"Beyond that (the SEA Games), I am not too sure yet," he said.

"I have to go year by year now."

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Sunderland vintage among EPL's worst

Struggling Sunderland look destined for the drop

OFF YOU GO: Sunderland manager David Moyes (above, left) is dismissed by referee Chris Kavanagh (right) for swearing at the match officials yesterday morning. Could he be dismissed by the Black Cats soon?

Say what you want about Sam Allardyce - and plenty of people have said plenty of things about the disgraced former England boss in recent weeks - but I still cannot fathom how he managed to keep Sunderland in the Premier League last season.

Sorry Black Cats fans, but I would have to rank the current side alongside Derby County (2007/08), QPR (2012/13) and, of course, Sunderland's own 2005/06 vintage in terms of the Premier League's worst teams.

A decade ago, Roy Keane dragged the club from the foot of the Championship to the middle of the Premier League table within two exhilarating seasons.

It was a remarkable achievement for a fledgling manager.

Keane had laid the necessary foundations to establish Sunderland as a team that would challenge for a top- half finish on a regular basis.

However, since returning to the Premier League in 2007, the club have finished 15th, 16th, 13th, 10th, 13th, 17th, 14th, 16th and 17th.

Michael Bowers, who writes the popular Roker Report blog on SB Nation, says: "It's simply a disgrace that we are still battling to avoid relegation and I'm fed up.

"A small part of me would rather be in the Championship winning games, rebuilding for the future."

Pining for relegation?

Such a statement from a lifelong fan demonstrates the desperation among the Black Cats faithful.

So who's to blame for the malaise at Sunderland?

In the modern era, when football management has the security of a shark cage made from silk, you would expect a reasonable degree of chopping and changing in the Sunderland dugout.

But 15 managers in 14 years?

No wonder there's such instability at the club.

One of those 15 managers, Real Betis boss Gus Poyet, believes that the Wearsiders have never been able to shake off the tag of a "selling club".

"There's something inside Sunderland, something at its very core. It makes it difficult to fulfil its potential," Poyet told The Guardian.

"A player has a good season and he's sold.

"(But) it makes no difference if they give you £20m for him - £20m doesn't replace him and doesn't solve anything.

"Now David Moyes is there and he has what's been left (for) him by previous coaches, and you can't go on like that.


"You just can't. It's impossible.

"Because when you start from zero every year - every year - you stay at zero."

Another major problem facing Sunderland's owners is that the city isn't considered a desirable place to live - it's a city that is still struggling to bounce back from the demise of its core manufacturing industry.

A report last year said that it's one of the four worst places to live in the UK, based on a variety of factors including economic performance and quality of life.

Despite the lure of hefty wage packets, it's difficult to persuade players to move to the club.

In the off-season, Sunderland were also hugely hampered by the FA taking so much time before belatedly making an approach for Allardyce.

As a consequence, his successor, David Moyes, was given little time to prepare a team for the rigours of a Premier League campaign.

The departure of loan stars DeAndre Yedlin and Yann M'Vila, plus the continued reports linking stand-out defender Lamine Kone with a move, were also hugely unhelpful.

However, whichever way you dress it up, a return of just two points from a possible 27 is unacceptable.

And, with confidence low, the team have also developed an unwelcome habit of shooting themselves in the foot.

Last weekend, the Black Cats could have claimed their first win of the campaign against fellow strugglers West Ham had they shown more ambition.

With the match finely poised in the second half, there was a massive opportunity for Moyes' men to go for the jugular against a team also short on confidence.

Instead, they retreated to try and protect a point - Winston Reid's injury-time winner was cruel, but entirely predictable.

This is the 10th consecutive season that Sunderland have spent in the Premier League, which suggests that the Black Cats have already used up their nine lives.

Richard Lenton is the lead presenter at ELEVEN SPORTS NETWORK. Join Richard and his studio guests for ELEVEN's live coverage of the Premier League, which includes tomorrow's clash between Sunderland and Arsenal from 7pm, as well as the Sunday showdowns between Everton and West Ham (9pm), and Chelsea's trip to Southampton (11.30pm). For more details visit www.elevensports.sg

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