Cohen's keen to be team player

Olympic double sculls gold medallist Nathan Cohen may be the obvious choice to hop in a New Zealand single-sculls boat in Mahe Drysdale's absence, but the Southlander is keen to remain part of a team.

Cohen was the fastest in the heats of the men's premier single sculls at the National Rowing Championships, on Lake Ruataniwha on Tuesday, but he maintained he would like his immediate future to be in a quad.

"I've stated I'd like to be part of a quad because it keeps things fresh and it's a new challenge."

Cohen threw his support behind Michael Arms and Robbie Manson to fill Drysdale's spot.

Ironically, both men were part of the New Zealand quad in London.

Drysdale is taking a six-month hiatus from rowing, which means there is an opportunity for a new sculler to impress at three World Cup regatta's before Drysdale's return in August.

Cohen said after his first long holiday in 10 years, he was not in the best shape, but he was pleased to get back into a rhythm after the euphoria of his gold-medal row with Joseph Sullivan in London.

"I've only been back in serious training for the last four weeks so timing-wise the nationals may not be perfect but it's good to spend a week in Twizel and get on the water and give back to the public who have been so good to us," he said.

The 27-year-old said despite Dick Tonks' intentions to focus on the New Zealand women's crews heading towards the next Olympics, the mental toughness and training routines would remain and it was up to each individual to ensure the men kept the standard high.

"He's set the standard in terms of training and preparation and mental grit, so we have to maintain his standards.

"He'll still be around Lake Karapiro, which is good news for everyone."

The finals at the National Rowing Championships start today.

They will go through to Saturday.

The Timaru Herald