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The three women's eight crews entered by the university this year form a large proportion of the 90 athletes selected to attend the regatta at Lake Ruataniwha in Twizel.
Also among the local contingent are three novice women's eights, two intermediate men's eights and a novice men's eight, as well as four, quad and doubles crews.
The Otago club is also looking to retain its stranglehold on the overall trophy, The Ashes, which the university has won every year since it was introduced 17 years ago.
The prize was donated by the club after its old shed burned down in 1999 and the trophy contains the actual ashes of that fire.
Club chief executive Glen Sinclair said the university was not resting on its laurels as it looked for a 17th consecutive title.
"We know other universities are working really, really hard to knock us over.''
There were 367 athletes from eight universities attending the regatta, considered the most fiercely contested event on the university rowing calendar.
The universities would compete across novice, tournament, intermediate and championship categories.
The competing teams were Otago, Canterbury, Lincoln, Victoria, Waikato and Auckland universities, Auckland University of Technology (AUT) and Massey University Auckland.
The traditional headline event at the regatta was the eights, which was raced over a two-mile (3.2km) distance, significantly longer than the standard 2km course that all other classes would compete in.
Nine intermediate men's eight crews from six universities would compete for the Hebberley Shield, while 11 intermediate women's eight crews from seven universities would compete for the Tamaki Cup.
The most entries were in the women's and men's intermediate doubles, with 22 and 21 crews entered respectively.
The regatta, which had its origins in the 1920s, finishes with finals on Sunday.