Rowing: Heat on university eight to defend international title

The Otago University men's eight are preparing for the International University Rowing race in Beijing in a heat chamber.

The crew has used the expertise of the School of Physical Education to acclimatise to the heat and humid conditions expected in China for the event, from July 30 to August 4.

The crew has been spending up to 80 minutes a session in temperatures of 38degC and with 80% humidity.

The Otago University heavyweight eight will be defending the international trophy it won in Beijing last year against crews from the universities of Princeton, London, Pavia (Italy) and Browns University in the United States. There is also a lightweight contest between crews from Harvard, Yale, Cambridge and Oxford.

The Otago University eight leaves Dunedin on Wednesday to race on the Olympic course in Shunyi Zone, Bejing, and at Xinjing City in the Chengdu province of China.

The five members of last year's crew are returning: Mark O'Connor, Alistair Bond, Todd Hale, Matthew Adam and cox Michael Dessoulavy. It will be the first international event for new coach Grant Craies and the first race for the eight since the University Games at Lake Waihola in April.

Of the newcomers, Michael Nisbet is a sports studies student. He also rows for North End in summer. He won a silver medal in the senior double sculls and a bronze medal in the senior single sculls at the national championships at Lake Karapiro this year.

James Harvey, a mathematics student, started rowing with the Wakatipu club and won a bronze medal at the national championships during his novice year.

Justin Evans, a biomechanics student, rowed for Wairau last summer and won a national championship gold medal in the club double.

Andrew Annear studies health science and was in the Waikato RPC over summer. He won a bronze medal in the lightweight pair at Lake Karapiro.

Law student Sam Kember was a member of the Auckland RPC last summer and won a silver medal in the under-21 eight and quadruple sculls at the national championships.


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