Mahe Drysdale admits he has speed to gain and weight to lose after a solid return to championship distance racing on Lake Karapiro.
New Zealand's Mahe Drysdale in action during the World Cup regatta.
Double Olympic single sculls champion Drysdale was fourth in the final of the Karapiro Club regatta, finishing more than nine seconds behind John Storey, one half of the Kiwi double sculls world champion crew.
Drysdale was unfussed at also being beaten home by training partners Jordan Parry and Cameron Crampton.
The 39-year-old was satisfied with clocking a time of 7 minutes 23.28 seconds in what was his first 2000m regatta since his golden triumph at the Rio Olympics 16 months ago.
He took a year off and is returning to the boat this summer to begin building towards a tilt at the 2020 Olympics.
Drysdale, who was third in his heat, admits he didn't know what to expect over the weekend.
"Overall very pleased with my progress and to be honest, probably ahead of where I expected I might be," he wrote on Facebook.
"There is still plenty of work to do plus another 7-odd kg to shed but a positive weekend overall and looking forward to some more great battles over the coming weeks in training and regattas."
Drysdale returned to competitive racing at an endurance event in Italy three weeks ago, placing 13th.
He was fifth at last week's Billy Webb Challenge on the Whanganui River, which was also won by Storey.