The Beijing Olympics may not have gone to plan but as reigning World Champion, a title he has claimed a total of five times to date, he is one of the top contenders to take gold in the men’s single final.

World Rowing caught up with Drysdale to find out about his final phase of preparation for the London, life with girlfriend Julietter Haigh (2012 Olympic bronze medallist in New Zealand’s women’s pair) and the Eton Dorney experience.

World Rowing: How are you finding the Eton Dorney venue?
Mahe Drysdale: London has been great, the organisation has been amazing and everything has run smoothly which is fantastic. The crowds are fantastic. To have raced heats in front of 25,000 people is amazing, I was almost shocked coming down in the heat. I wasn’t really expecting it and it kind of through me off a little bit. You hear this roar and you realise you are only racing a heat. You’re kind of thinking, “am I in the final or what?”

WR: This must be a different experience from Beijing for you? (Where he suffered from illness during racing)
MD: Obviously I much more enjoy what is going on now because I’m feeling a lot better. It’s really nice being here because it feels a little like being at home. I have a lot of friends and family here so it’s really good.

WR: You had to take a break from the single scull after you bike accident in June. How has your preparation gone since then?
MD: I have come back pretty well. I did a lot of cycling in that time so my fitness didn’t really suffer, it was more just the boat feel and that took a few weeks to come right. But coming in here I was feeling pretty good, so hopefully I can keep improving and turn the boat speed around to get a little more by the final.

WR: Juliette Haigh is your girlfriend. Do you watch each other’s racing?
We certainly take an interest in each other’s rowing but try not to say too much to each other – just a bit of encouragement when necessary. But I don’t think we would ever work as a coach and crew combination! I always think it’s important to have that support of each other and obviously you know what each other is going through.

WR: Do you ever go rowing together?
MD: We have only actually been out rowing once together, in the double.

WR: Do you make plans for your rowing career together?
MD: A little bit. We’ve obviously both got our own careers, and that has taken us here to London. We have discussed a few things about what will happen in the next four years and obviously we will keep discussing that together, to find something that will work because if one of us is rowing and the other isn’t, do we want to be living in the same place, because rowing controls where we live. There are big decisions to be made I guess!

WR: You like to blog a lot and you website is quite detailed. How do you feel about your competitors going online and seeing what you’re writing and how you are feeling etc?
I’m a pretty open person so I will say what I feel and if my competitors get something out of that, that’s for them. I just concentrate on what I’m doing and making my boat go fast and I’m pretty confident that if I do that then whatever I write there is not going to help my competitors go faster.