Olympic champion Mahe Drysdale doesn't think he'll be in the hunt for a gold medal at next month's world championships in Korea.
Drysdale, who last year added an Olympic gold to the bronze he won in 2008, yesterday confirmed his place in the New Zealand rowing team in a time trial at Lake Karapiro after a six month layoff.
He was off the pace with a time of 7m20sec over the 2000m, although it was in cold conditions and into a slight headwind. Afterwards Drysdale remained ''realistic'' about his chances but said he was determined to continue improving as he aims to get back to top form.
''I'm pretty realistic. I don't think I'm going to be in the gold medal race, that's just because of the break and I knew that when I took the break, '' Drysdale said.
''If I can be competitive and be in the race, obviously be in the A final is the number one goal, and be in sort of the third and fifth position, I think I would be fairly happy and know that I'm on track to be back out in front next year.''
Drysdale completed the time trial against the womens' double scull, lightweight double scull, quadruple and eights proving to selectors - Richard Tonks, Barrie Mabbott and Conrad Robertson - he was good to go for the world championships in Chungju, South Korea, at the end of next month.
He joins the team of 38 rowers from 13 crews that was named earlier this week by Rowing NZ and is simply glad to be back in action.
"There was no certainty I was going to make it back so to actually do that is great," Drysdale said.
"But this is obviously only a very small step, I've still got to improve and hopefully be competitive at the world champs and keep working hard to hopefully be out in front again by the end of next year."
Despite the conditions the five-time single scull world champion believed it was a reasonable race.
"I had a pretty good race, obviously I want more speed but it's starting to get more consistent,'' Drysdale said.
"To be able to go out there on a day that I was told to perform and have a fairly solid race is a big boost because obviously that's exactly what I've got to do at world champs in four weeks time."
Rowing New Zealand's high performance manager Alan Cotter said he knew Drysdale was not back to his winning form from the London Olympics but is continually progressing and with a month to go before Korea is only going to get better.
''If he can make the final we'll be pretty happy,'' Cotter said about the expectations placed on Drysdale, with the main focus on the Rio Olympics in 2016.
''He is certainly not up to his London standard but Rio was the long term plan and it's part of what we've discussed with him straight after the Olympics.
''He is a clever man, he knows what he can do and can't do.''
The team will have a few weeks of training at Lake Karapiro before they depart for the world championships on August 11.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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