Stories from Locker Room: Rowing legends Mahe Drysdale, Hamish Bond lock horns in 'GOAT fight'

Kiwi rowing legend Mahe Drysdale admits his short stint in the national eights squad last year saw him regularly banging heads with fellow Olympic champion Hamish Bond.

The duo have fashioned impressive careers in their own right - Drysdale as the world’s dominant single sculler of the past two decades and Bond in a long unbeaten run with pairs partner Eric Murray.

But put them in the same boat and fireworks were almost inevitable, as they tried to will their teammates to Tokyo Olympic qualification.

"Yeah, I think we had our disagreements at times," Drysdale reveals to Newshub’s Locker Room podcast. "The boys used to call it the 'GOAT fight'.

"There were certainly times that we didn’t agree and that's just normal. In any scenario, when you've come from different boats and been successful in those boats, you potentially don’t see eye to eye, but I don’t think that ever held us back.

"We've been teammates for years and training partners for a number of those. He's an incredible athlete, and it was fantastic to be in a boat with him and training with him on a daily basis."

Temporarily deposed from his sculls berth by Robbie Manson, Drysdale insists his stint with the eight was still one of the most rewarding, if unsuccessful campaigns of his career.

The scratch crew improved with every outing, but ultimately failed to qualify for Tokyo at last year's world championships and now face a last-ditch effort to make the field before next year's rescheduled Olympics - without Drysdale.

"Potentially, I'd still be there if we had qualified," he says. "I really enjoyed it - it was just a completely different challenge.

"I felt like we didn't perform as well as we should have at the world champs final, but I was very proud of what we achieved in that boat.

"In the final, we were 99 percent there and I can't quite put my finger on why we weren't 100 percent. We ended up missing out by half a second, which was incredibly disappointing."

Mahe Drysdale in single sculls action
Mahe Drysdale in single sculls action. Photo credit: Photosport

Now Manson seems to have forsaken his solo aspirations, Drysdale has reset his focus to becoming just the third man to win three consecutive Olympics single sculls titles.

"When I weighed up the options, I still felt like the single was the best place for me.

"I wasn't as suited to the eight as I was to the single and there were just a few. I still think I added to the boat, but there were a few more things in the single that weighed the balance over the eight."

Listen to the full interview on Stories from the Locker Room podcast