The New Zealand rower Robbie Manson says he goes into the 2019 season in a much better frame of mind and fully focussed on succes at the World Championships.
Earlier this month Manson was given the singles sculls seat for the year after seeing off a challenge from two-time Olympic champion Mahe Drysdale.
In 2018 the two went head to head during the World Cup season, with the winner given the seat for the World Championships.
Manson, 29, won two of the World Cup races and was subsequently awarded the New Zealand seat for the 2018 World Champs, but for the second straight year he finished fifth in the pinnacle event outside the Olympics.
He admits that having to trial against Drysdale through the year played a part in his World Championship performance.
“There were a lot of factors at the World Champs, I had to have my race of the year at the third World Cup in Lucerne to make sure I secured the spot, I possibly overtrained so I didn’t get the buildup right between the World Cups and the World Champs,” Manson said.
“So you can’t say it was just one thing, but being able to address all of those things hopefully it’ll mean a better result this year.”
This year Rowing New Zealand decided early to give Manson the singles sculls seat for two World Cup regattas in Poland in June and the Netherlands in July and the World Championships in Austria in August.
He says the lessons from last year should help in 2019.
“In hindsight what happened last year is probably a positive thing, I learnt a lot more out of that than I would have if I’d turned up and everything had gone a hundred percent as planned, so I learnt some really good lessons from last year, what works and what doesn’t and learning more about myself in the single, a boat that I’m still new in.”
Drysdale still hopes to compete in the single at the World Cup regattas this year and if Rowing New Zealand doesn’t allow him to do that, then he says he’ll consider rowing for Fiji.
A country can have more than one boat at World Cup events, but not at the World Championships.
Manson isn’t concerned about the possibility of facing Drysdale again this year.
“I’m selected for the World Champs and I’m not out there to win the World Cups.”
“That’s the difference this year to previous years where I felt I had to prove myself at the World Cups so I knew where I was at internationally.”
“Last year I had to win the World Cups to get to the World Champs, so this year for the first time in three years the World Cup results really don’t matter for me and I see that as a real positive,” Manson said.
“That’s the key thing this year it’s about using the World Cup as a tool to prepare for the World Championships.”
Whatever happens this year the Manson-Drysdale battle is set to continue with Drysdale saying he still wants to compete in the single sculls in Tokyo next year in an attempt to win a third Olympic title.
Manson is looking forward to the challenge.
“We both have the same goal and I guess it’s a good position for Rowing New Zealand to be in, two really fast single scullers and I think ultimately at the end of the day the fastest sculler deserves to go.”
“I’m sure there’ll be a trial much like there was this year and I’ll be doing everything I can to make sure I’m the fastest and the best for the job and at the end of the day that’s what it comes down to.”