Drys­dale back with coach

Herald on Sunday - - SPORT - By Andrew Alder­son

Mahe Drys­dale and coach Calvin Fer­gu­son will re­unite, as the dou­ble Olympic cham­pion rower con­tin­ues his re­turn to the sport.

Af­ter Drys­dale’s for­mer men­tor Dick Tonks parted ways with Rowing New Zealand in ac­ri­mo­nious cir­cum­stances af­ter the Rio Olympics, he needs to find a new coach who is ac­cept­able to the coun­try’s cen­tralised pro­gramme.

The 38-year-old is aim­ing to earn back the sin­gle sculls spot, now oc­cu­pied by Rob­bie Man­son. Man­son was fifth at this year’s world cham­pi­onships, but ham­pered by in­juries af­ter over­tak­ing Drys­dale’s world-best time at Poz­nan in June.

Drys­dale will join 10 ath­letes in the men’s sculling sum­mer squad run by Fer­gu­son at Lake Kara­piro.

The squad in­cludes world cham­pion dou­ble scullers Chris Har­ris and John Storey, light­weight dou­ble hope­fuls James Lass­che and Matt Dun­ham, and six quadru­ple sculls as­pi­rants.

Man­son will train sep­a­rately with coach Noel Don­ald­son ahead of the Fe­bru­ary 13-17 na­tional cham­pi­onships at Lake Kara­piro. Tri­als for the in­ter­na­tional sea­son will likely pit Drys­dale and Man­son against each other im­me­di­ately af­ter­wards.

Drys­dale won his first two world cham­pi­onships un­der Tonks in 2005 and 2006, but was coached by Fer­gu­son to win his 2007 title and the bronze at the 2008 Olympics when he was ham­pered by ill­ness. Drys­dale has since been men­tored by Tonks.

Calvin Fer­gu­son said he would work with Drys­dale through the sum­mer and re­assess af­ter that.

“He has a chal­lenge ahead for the sin­gle spot to get his fit­ness back up and to see how the speed of his boat goes. He’s not as con­di­tioned as he can be af­ter a year off. I understand what his needs are, and what he’s done with Dick. The re­la­tion­ship was quite easy be­tween us all, even though they did their own thing.”

Fer­gu­son rowed three years in a na­tional light­weight four with Tonks as coach, and worked as Rob Wad­dell’s train­ing part­ner at times when the Syd­ney Olympic cham­pion was men­tored by Rowing New Zealand’s for­mer head coach.

“I learned a lot of his pro­cesses and tech­niques,” Fer­gu­son said.

“Now our chil­dren go to sports to­gether and our fam­i­lies get on well. I keep [sport­ing] pol­i­tics and in­di­vid­ual friend­ships sep­a­rate.”

Fer­gu­son said Rowing New Zealand needed to have a con­ver­sa­tion with Drys­dale about who he wanted to be coached by long term.

“I’d be happy to coach Mahe all the way through [to Tokyo] be­cause he’s pretty much self-man­aged.”


Calvin Fer­gu­son will work with Mahe Drys­dale this sum­mer.

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