Jared Brenssell’s oars are flying.
The Oamaru rower is just back from a trip to Russia with the Otago University club, and he has now been selected for the Southern RPC for the new summer campaign.
Brenssell, who turns 20 next month, said the 10 days in Russia were a great experience.
“It was a lot different to what I thought it would be,” he said.
“Everyone was really nice, and it wasn’t really much different from New Zealand.
“We were in quite a well-off part of St Petersburg, and we stayed at the rowing club, which is abut 150 years old. It was a really big facility.”
The Otago University senior eight competed in its annual challenge against St Petersburg State University.
Otago won the challenge for the first time in three years, winning the 5.7km race by 12sec, the 250m sprint by .21sec, and the 2km race by 5sec.
Brenssell said there were some entertaining moments with the rival rowers.
“Only one of the Russian crew spoke English, so we used Google translate when we went out with them.
“We tried to go into town one night after a couple of drinks with them but something must have gone wrong with the translation. They took us on a giant walk and we ended up at the supermarket.”
The lake on which they rowed was “ginormous – more the size of an ocean, to be honest”.
A down side was a vomiting bug that swept through the Otago squad near the end of the trip, but they still got to enjoy a two-day stopover in Shanghai on the way home.
Brenssell, who won the New Zealand under-19 double sculls title with Oamaru clubmate James Scott last year, is now off to Christchurch for the summer.
He trialled for the Southern RPC at Lake Karapiro three weeks ago and has made the cut, and will stay with fellow Waitaki Boys’ High School old boy Mark Taylor while in Christchurch.
Before that, he represents Otago in the the open four and pair at the interprovincial regatta.
“It’s all kind of falling into place this season, which is nice. I’m quite happy.”
Brenssell, in his second year studying psychology and sociology at Otago, is aiming at getting a trial for the New Zealand under-23 crew this season.