Rowers seek inspiration from within in quest

FRED WOODCOCK IN LONDON
Last updated 10:19 26/07/2012

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Double world champion Nathan Cohen believes the crack New Zealand rowing squad will feed off each other in their quest for an unprecedented medal haul at the London Olympics.

The Southlander and his double scull teammate Joseph Sullivan from Marlborough, winners of the past two world championship titles, are one of up to 10 crews with designs on a medal at the Olympic regatta, which starts on Saturday night (NZT) on Eton Dorney in Buckinghamshire.

The Kiwis split into two after the last World Cup regatta in Munich a month ago but have came together when they assembled in the rowing village on Tuesday (NZT).

There's an air of quiet confidence and Cohen believed success would breed success during the regatta.

"Even though we are separated into individual crews we do most of our training together, we always race against each other and we always feed off each other, and that drives our performance," the 26-year-old said.

"We've got the men's pair (Eric Murray and Hamish Bond) and Mahe (Drysdale) obviously always setting that bar. We're always trying to chase it and they're always trying to stay ahead and keep raising that bar.

"It is almost contagious; it just keeps on feeding so the culture is very good for performance."

Double world champion Juliette Haigh of the women's pair echoed similar sentiments.

"We feed off each other as a squad, but especially our training partners. When we see them do well we're really happy for them but it also gives confidence knowing we've done every mile they have."

Cohen and Sullivan have been preparing in Belgium for the past month, following their horror showing at the Lucerne World Cup - they failed to make the A-final - and a more encouraging second-placing in Munich.

"We got some good hard work done, it was pretty intense, but now we come into this last week and start resting up and start feeling better and better every day," said Cohen, who was fourth in Beijing four years ago with Rob Waddell.

"We're happy with our speed and how we've been training, but if you look at the last four years there have been so many doubles that have been on the podium at various events and you can't really rule anyone out.

"There are 13 crews here and you'd say realistically 9 or 10 of them have a chance."

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