As a five-time world champion, Mahe Drysdale isn't used to losing and today he regained his national single sculls title at the New Zealand rowing championships at Lake Karapiro.
Drysdale was beaten by Nathan Cohen last year but showed his strength in beating off a high-quality field today to prove he's in good early-season form ahead of the London Olympics.
Cohen made him work for it, at one stage sprinting at 45 strokes a minute, and he also endured attacks from 2009 world lightweight doubles sculls champion and three-time world pairs champion Eric Murray but Drysdale maintained control throughout and finished in a classy time of 6 minutes 46 seconds.
Cohen finished less than a boat length behind in second and Murray, who beat Drysdale at the North Island championships, was third. Less than nine seconds separated all six rowers in the final.
Emma Twigg dominated the field in the women's single sculls to claim her fourth consecutive title.
Fi Bourke finished second and the Southern RPC rower then combined with Lucy Spoors, Anna Dawson and Eve Macfarlane to win the women's quad over a Central RPC quad containing world double sculls bronze medallists Anna Reymer and Fi Paterson.
Central won the premier men's eights ahead of Waikato and Southern. The same clubs battled it out in the premier women's eights with Southern winning from Waikato and Central.
The country's top rowers take a short break before the all-important national trials. A number of seats have already been confirmed for the 11 boats qualified for the London Olympics but a handful are still up for grabs.