Gold, silver for Otago University eight

Otago University men’s eight rowing team (from left) coxswain Lauren Gibbs, stroke Kyle Hughes, Sam Johnston, Oliver Fahey, Ari Palsson, Corey Lewis, Hayden Bewley, Jared Brenssell and Haxby Hefford warm up for one of their events at the International Fam
Otago University men’s eight rowing team (from left) coxswain Lauren Gibbs, stroke Kyle Hughes, Sam Johnston, Oliver Fahey, Ari Palsson, Corey Lewis, Hayden Bewley, Jared Brenssell and Haxby Hefford warm up for one of their events at the International Famous Universities Rowing Regatta Series in Nanchang, China, earlier this week. Photo: Supplied
The University of Otago men's eight has made waves at the International Famous Universities Rowing Regatta Series in Nanchang, China, after beating crews from well-regarded rowing universities, including Harvard, Oxford, Cambridge, Tokyo, MIT and the Chinese national team.

Team manager Glen Sinclair said the men won gold in the 6km race and silver in the 1000m race.

''We had a huge day yesterday. We won the 1000m heat and progressed to the final on time.

''Thirteen crews were racing and we went into the four-boat final ranked second.''

In the final, the Chinese national lightweight men's eight, racing as Nanchang University, was first, 2sec ahead of second-placed Otago, he said.

''We were 2sec ahead of Harvard - only pulling ahead of Harvard with a huge burst in the last 100m.''

He said the final and main race of the day was the 6km head race.

''Crews went off at 30sec intervals, based on their 1000m ranking, but the result was on time against the clock.

''Nanchang went off first with Otago having a huge first 1000m and catching up the 30sec gap just past the 1000m mark.

''From there, Otago took control of the race with superb steering and cool, calm coxing from Lauren Gibb.

''Otago held on for the win by 12sec over a fast-finishing National Chi Nan, from Taiwan.''

Nanchang was third, Oxford was fourth, Cambridge was fifth and Harvard was sixth, he said.

The team was delighted with the result, but it came at a cost, he said.

''After the race - which was in 35degC-plus temperatures - Corey Lewis collapsed and had to be taken to hospital, being placed on oxygen and an IV fluid drip for more than four hours.''

He has since recovered, and said it was a great effort from the crew.

''We probably loaded the first half of the race a bit too much, but that gave us the lead that we needed and set us up for the win.''

Fellow team-mate Haxby Hefford said it was ''awesome knowing that we are up there with other universities from all over the world''.

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