Rowing: Rival Mahe Drysdale's absence frees Robbie Manson focus on world champs

It's long been one of New Zealand's premier boats in world rowing and it's now one Robbie Manson can firmly dedicate his focus to.

Following rival Mahe Drysdale's decision to join the eight, Manson can approach the upcoming European season without the distraction of having to keep his seat. 

"I can definitely just focus on myself this year and being the best that I can be," Manson told Newshub.

That's something he hasn't had the luxury of doing since he entered the single scull two years ago.

But first, Manson had to prove to himself he could do it.

Then he had to prove to others he was good enough to replace the man who's twice won Olympic gold in it.

"This is the first time in three years I feel I can go away to the World Cups and use it purely as learning.

"It means I can build towards world champs rather than being at a really high level and trying maintain that intensity."

It's something that cost him last year.

Splitting his focus between winning on the international stage and beating out Drysdale saw him burn out, finishing fifth at the world champs.

Rowing New Zealand's hoping a fresh mind will be beneficial.

"We have high expectations of all our rowers and yes, we were disappointed in last years results but that's just steered our resolve.

But this year speed won't be everything.

Manson is happy to forgo World Cup medals for a better showing at the world champs, where Olympic qualification is earned.

"There aren't many qualifying spots so you've got to be on your game, and there's going to be some good crews miss out on Olympic qualification

With the single scull now undoubtedly his, Robbie Manson hoping he's not one of them.

Newshub.

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