Dark, cold mornings on Takapuna’s Lake Pupuke could put anyone off the pursuit of greatness. But for Aimee Fisher, it was more the feeling of being pipped by Dame Lisa Carrington in their three-race showdown in April that had her doubting herself.
Fisher said she took three weeks off following the clash with Carrington and during that time had some tough questions to answer.
"I just didn't know if I wanted it anymore," Fisher told 1News.
"I didn't have that drive and that passion and that was scary.
"Obviously i thought the worst and then I couldn't help but wonder if it's time to walk away."
After two weeks on the Gold Coast training under her old coach Rene Olsen, the world champion said she has found the spark again.
So much so, she will meet with Canoe Racing New Zealand bosses next week about returning to the high performance squad after quitting the programme in 2020 following a fallout with those in charge, including coaching great Gordon Walker.
While Canoe Sport NZ wouldn’t comment on the upcoming meeting, they said on Thursday the door remains open.
Fisher said she was "hopeful" ahead of the discussion but if it doesn’t work out, she will continue on her current path.
The only problem? That'll require funding as since she left the elite squad, she's had to turn to family.
"Another sacrifice that was part of [me leaving in 2020] was losing my funding so I went a year unemployed and at that point, I was like 'I need to get a job,'" Fisher said.
"My parents stepped in and said to me, 'you made your sacrifice when you walked away from the Olympics, our sacrifice is going to be finance'.
"And so my dad, Papa Fish, he started doing more hours at the factory and basically they funded me for a year."
But ultimately, the thought and potential of being in a K2 or K4 with Carrington is too much to forgo.
"If there is the interest to come together as a united force, it'd be good - it'd be quick."