Robbie Manson in impressive form beating Drysdale at North Island Club Championships regatta
Robbie Manson won first prize on Monday on Lake Karapiro for the Cambridge Town Cup/ North Island club championship regatta, 4 positions ahead of Mahe Drysdale. Both Drysdale and Manson are hoping to represent New Zealand in the single scull at the World Cup regattas in Europe later this year. Drysdale, who last won Gold in Rio 2016, might now be regretting his year off which has left him significantly lagging behind.
28-year-old Manson represented New Zealand in 2017 and with an 8-second lead, he set the new world’s best time in a single scull at World Rowing Cup II, beating Drysdale’s previous record by 3 seconds.
It’s not the first time since the 2016 Olympics that Drysdale has been left behind. At the Silver Skiff Regatta in November, he was well down the field in an event dominated by the Sinkovic brothers. Back home in New Zealand at the Karapiro Club regatta in early December 2017, Drysdale came fourth, and then again at the Christmas regatta he came sixth, finishing some 14 seconds behind Manson who took first place.
This now leaves Drysdale, 39, hoping that the selection committee will see that he has previously climbed to a peak towards the end of the international season.
Manson, who may still be recovering from his cycling accident late last year, told Stuff NZ after the race “I stuck to my race plan and tired a little bit in that last five hundred”. This win makes Manson the one to watch despite any worries about fitness. He went on to say “I guess that’s where the fitness comes in and hopefully through the season I’ll be able to add to that.”
It’s set to be a summer-long duel in New Zealand between Drysdale and Manson for that final seat. Meanwhile, the next event on the horizon in New Zealand will be the National Championships in which Paul and Gary O’Donovan and Shane O’Driscoll & Mark O’Donovan will be competing from February 13-17.
Article by Catherine Radvanszky, in-house journalist and photographer at WEROW.