'Bit of an adjustment' – Mahe Drysdale coming to terms with return to men’s quad after 13 years solo

For over a decade, Mahe Drysdale has been competing at the top level in the men's single scull but at next month's world championships, that'll all change.

Drysdale has owned the single sculls spot since 2005 but that will all change at this year’s world champs. Source: 1 NEWS

The double Olympic champion has been named in the men's quad and he has quickly had to get used to working with crew mates again.

The 39-year-old admits it’s been a challenge.

"It’s been a bit of an adjustment for me from setting my own rhythm, being my own man and you've got to fit in with a crew," he said.

"I’ve been very much the one who has to make some changes."

After failing to win the singles spot for next month's world championships, Drysdale decided to put his hand up for another crew.

He has spent three weeks trialling for the quadruple scull and seen the numbers change on and off the water - he's now the lightest he's been since the 2008 Beijing Olympics.             

Part of Rowing New Zealand's trial process is the notoriously brutal seat racing on Lake Karapiro where athletes row the two kilometre course again and again in different combinations to see which one is the fastest.

The routine is something Drysdale hasn't had to do in 14 years and it came as a bit of a shock to the system.

"It's been pretty tough the last few days with some pretty hard racing," he said.

"You know your spot’s on the line so mentally and physically it’s pretty tough on the body and doing repeats and repeats and repeats."

But it's his mental toughness that most excites his new coach, Mike Rodger.

Rodger worked with Rob Waddell during the duo's 2008 showdown for the single seat and says he sees the same determined rower now as he did then.

"He's amazing under pressure. He brings somethings special every time so we're going to pick his brains and bleed from him as much as he can when it comes to that."

Drysdale replaces Jordan Parry who won the 2017 under-23 world title in the quad but at the last elite World Cup, the quad missed out on the A final.

New crewmate Nathan Flannery hopes Drysdale can push them into medal contention.

"What we've seen and felt in the boat is he's obviously a big, strong guy and you can feel that horsepower in there.

"I guess the challenge for us moving forward is to link that into something we can all work with."

They have just a month to get three plus one to equal a quad.