4 Apr 2019

Drysdale committed to "getting the big boat going"

12:35 pm on 4 April 2019

Mahe Drysdale's dream of winning a third straight Olympic single sculls title appears to be over.

New Zealand's Mahe Drysdale after winning gold in the mens singles at Rio 2016 Olympics.


The 40-year-old has been named in Rowing New Zealand's men's sweep squad for the upcoming international season, from which an eight and four will be selected.

Drysdale had expressed a desire to compete in the single at this year's world cups, despite Robbie Manson having been named to represent New Zealand in the boat at the 2019 world championships.

He had even considered representing another nation at the world cups, if Rowing NZ didn't want to send him.

But the five-time world champion has had a change of heart.

"I've thought about it over the last few weeks and I guess there's the allure of getting the big boat going," Drysdale told Radio New Zealand.

"I kind of decided that if we were going to do it I had to sort of go all in so that's been quite I guess a change for me, but I think it's a pretty exciting challenge."

Stephen Jones (s), James Lassche, Isaac Grainger, Shaun Kirkham, Cameron Webster, Martyn O Leary, Brook Robertson, Phillip Wilson (b) and Caleb Shepherd (c) New Zealand Mens Eight 2018 World Rowing Championships.


Drysdale has though left the door ajar for a return to the single next year ahead of the Tokyo Olympics.

"It's not definitely the end of it for me, but if the eight does what we want it do then that will become my priority."

"Probably the only disappointment is I sort of feel like I haven't got to where I could have got in the single coming back, but I've thought long and hard about this decision and you know if we can get the eight going I won't even have a second thought about the single."

Hamish Bond has also been named in New Zealand's men's sweep squad.

The double Olympic men's pairs champion only returned to rowing last month, after winning a Commonwealth Games bronze medal in cycling.

"I'm really pleased to get the opportunity to press for a place in the men's eight," Bond said.

"To be honest I'm largely here on past reputation as opposed to current form and I'm sort of taking the next couple of months to prove my worth, before the team leaves for Europe, that I deserve a spot in the eight and I am confident I should be able to prove that."

Bond believes he and Drysdale's winning experience will be invaluable.

"It would be well over 100 international wins we'd have between us so to bring that into the fold and provide a bit of self belief to the rest of the guys."

Hamish Bond (L) and Mahe Drysdale training 2019.


Sophie Mackenzie and Eve Macfarlane are also back in the international fold for the first time since the Rio Olympics.

Mackenzie has been selected in the women's lightweight single, while Macfarlane is one of 12 athletes in the women's sweep squad, from which the eight and four will be selected.

Caleb Shepherd and Sam Bosworth have been announced as team coxswains.

Shepherd has coxed the New Zealand men's eight in recent years while Bosworth was named as the first ever male coxswain of a female crew in New Zealand in 2017, and also coxed the women's crew in 2018.

The 51-strong team will remain at Lake Karapiro to train before departing overseas to contest the world cups in Poland and the Netherlands in June and July.

The squad for the world rowing championships in Austria will be confirmed after the world cup in July.

Rowing New Zealand's elite team for 2019 is as follows:

Women's single scull - Emma Twigg

Men's single scull - Robbie Manson

Women's coxless pair - Kerri Gowler and Grace Prendergast

Men's Coxless Pair - Tom Murray and Michael Brake

Women's double scull - Olivia Loe and Brooke Donoghue

Men's double scull - Chris Harris and John Storey

Women's lightweight double scull - Zoe McBride and Jackie Kiddle

Men's lightweight double scull - Harrison Somerville and Matt Dunham

Women's lightweight single scull - Sophie Mackenzie

Men's lightweight single scull - Ben van Dalen

Men's quad sculling squad - Cameron Crampton, Isaac Grainger, Jordan Parry, Lewis Hollows, Nathan Flannery

Women's sweep squad - Beth Ross, Davina Waddy, Ella Greenslade, Emma Dyke, Eve Macfarlane, Jackie Gowler, Kelsey Bevan, Kelsi Walters, Kirstyn Goodger, Lucy Spoors, Phoebe Spoors and Ruby Tew

Men's sweep squad - Anthony Allen, Ben Taylor, Brook Robertson, Hamish Bond, Ian Seymour, James Lassche, Shaun Kirkham, Mahe Drysdale, Matt MacDonald, Phillip Wilson, Sam Jones, Stephen Jones, Thomas Russel and Tom Mackintosh

Women's reserves - Sam Voss and Hannah Osborne

Team Coxswains - Caleb Shepherd and Sam Bosworth