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‘Write me off at your own peril’ – Mahe Drysdale determined to retain NZ's single sculls seat from Kiwi rival Robbie Manson

Out on the water at Lake Karapiro, you can hear Mahe Drysdale from a mile away - and he's not afraid to make some noise about just what he wants to achieve.

The 2016 gold medallist says he’s nearing his best – but he’ll need something special to catch the world record holder. Source: 1 NEWS

Both Drysdale and Kiwi rival Robbie Manson are competing for the coveted single sculls seat at this year’s world championships and the two-time Olympic champion isn’t holding back on or off the water.

"I don't want to give anyone else a chance in my seat," he said.

"It’s been my seat since 2005 - I want it to be my seat through to 2020."

After his nail biting win at the Rio Olympics, Drysdale took a break and is now trying to reclaim the single sculls seat from world record holder Manson, but while it's been a frustrating chase, he says he's almost back to his best.

Trouble is, Manson is only getting faster.

"I’m as fitter and stronger if not fitter and stronger than I was this time last year," Manson said.

"For me, it’s been about fine tuning that technique."

Last year, the 28-year-old smashed the world record but disappointed when it came to the World Champs. He's desperate to redeem himself this time round.

Manson has age and speed on his side while Drysdale has experience and history.

But what the 39-year-old doesn't have is time.

While he is closing the gap over longer rows, the 2 kilometre race distance is still where he’s struggling for pace.

With just under six weeks until the final selection regatta in Lucerne, Switzerland, Drysdale has a long way to go.

Over the past month, the average margin between him and Manson has increased from eight to 12 seconds over 2000 metres.

But Drysdale warns that’s all part of the story.

"Write me off at your own peril," he said.

"It’s something that I’ve done over and over again and I’m very confident in myself."