Bad heart beats Cohen at world championships

Southland's first and only Olympic gold medallist Nathan Cohen is out of the 2013 world rowing championships after suffering from an episode of supraventricular tachycardia (SVT) in Sunday's heats.

Karl Manson, younger brother of double sculler Robbie Manson, will replace Cohen in the men's quadruple scull at the regatta.

SVT is a rapid heart rhythm which Cohen also experienced in April during the Rowing New Zealand Winter Series at Lake Karapiro.

Cohen was given the all clear to continue training and racing after being checked out by medical experts at that time.

In yesterday's heat he experienced lack of strength and power as the race went on. The men's quad finished fifth in the heats on Sunday.

"It feels like once you're into the race, your heart isn't in rhythm, oxygen is running out, and you lose power, and become weaker as the race goes on. It feels like you are dragging something behind the boat, Cohen said."

Cohen has only had minor episodes over the past few months, and said it is well managed by limiting things which might set it off like caffeine.

Cohen is naturally disappointed not be able to continue contesting the world championships regatta.

"From a personal point of view, I've been training hard for the past 10 months, but knowing that there is a suitable replacement helps," Cohen said. "I could race and be fine, but it's not worth taking any chances, as I could have another race tomorrow like I had [on Sunday]. I don't want to let my crew down."

SVT is a common problem among endurance athletes, especially as they get older.

Cohen had full faith Manson would be an admirable replacement. "It's great to have a reserve here, so I don't have to run the risk of racing and it happening again. Karl will fit straight in."

Manson recently competed at the under-23 world championships in Linz, Austria, where the men's quad won silver.

Manson will slot into Cohen's bow seat at the repechages tomorrow and will continue racing in the crew for the rest of the regatta.

Manson trained in the boat yesterday morning and will again before racing gets under way for the crew today.

For Cohen it is now about the short term goal of "getting the body right before focusing too far ahead."

The Southland Times