Top 20 . . . Logan Docherty and Reuben Cook (bow) compete in the world under›23 championships in Italy. PHOTO: SHARRON BENNETT PHOTOGRAPHY

Logan Docherty left everything on the water at the world under-23 rowing championships.

The Oamaru rower returned home this week after finishing 16th in the lightweight double at the world championships in Italy last month.

Docherty, alongside doubles partner Reuben Cook, was part of the first New Zealand under-23 team to compete internationally in three years, due to Covid-19.

Docherty (21) said while he and Cook set themselves ‘‘the goal of gold’’, he was still pleased with the outcome.

‘‘To place 16th in the world is a honour,’’ Docherty said.

‘‘With the lightweight double being the only lightweight Olympic-class boat now, you meet such high-calibre athletes that have the potential to step on to elite honours.

‘‘To still be there or there about with not as much international experience as other countries, we punched above our weight as a small country.’’

The regatta, held on July 26-31, had a strong field. Docherty had to focus on his job and not let the physical condition of the other athletes intimidate him.

‘‘Especially when [there are] some Eastern European countries whose [athletes’] arms are as big as your legs,’’ he said.

‘‘The whole experience to race internationally was good. You can be successful within your own country, but racing internationally, you really do become the small fish in a big pond.’’

Before heading to Italy, the New Zealand team held sessions to acclimatise to the heat, both on rowing machines and in heated pools.

The first few days were a ‘‘shock to the system’’ but they soon adapted to the conditions.

It was the hard work he and Cook put into being in the best shape physically and mentally with which Docherty was most satisfied.

‘‘We left no stone unturned to be able to turn up at the start line and to be able to say, ‘I couldn’t have done any more’, is what I am most proud of,’’ he said.

‘‘We didn’t get the result we both wanted, but at the end of the day we did the work, but simply just weren’t quick enough against some world-class competition.’’

There had been lots of messages of support and having his parents and grandparents in Italy during the regatta was great.

‘‘The main support though, I wouldn’t have been in a position to be able tocomplete the relocation and training in Cambridge before heading overseas without the support from Mark Rawson, and the team at Plunket Electrical.’’

Docherty arrived back in New Zealand on Wednesday and will take some time off from ‘‘full-time’’ training — his first proper break since he was 17.

He will return to Plunket Electrical in Oamaru, aiming to finish his apprenticeship about Christmas time this year.

Once he gets back into training, Docherty will aim for the Otago open men’s squad for the interprovincial regatta in October. His long-term goal is to be selected for the New Zealand under-23 squad again next year to compete in Plovdiv, Bulgaria.