danielle and susannah henley 218x115

Danielle Semple (left) and Susannah Duncan (right)

Henley Highlights- First final for 45 years

Sports Scholars Susannah Duncan and Danielle Semple made the first final at Henley for 45 years for an Exeter crew, as part of their preparations for GB U23 World Rowing Championships at the end of July

The pairing of Sports Scholars Susannah Duncan and Danielle Semple were seeded in the senior women's double scull (Stonor Challenge Cup) thanks to some fantastic results from MET and Henley Women’s Regatta. A particular highlight was Susannah and Danielle setting a course record at Henley Women’s Regatta in the lightweight double. This meant the Exeter crew headed straight to the semi-finals day where they did not disappoint and secured a place in the final beating an experienced Washington crew, a first for Exeter since 1973. They went on to meet the GB U23 heavyweight double in the final who were defending World Champions from the Open weight quad at the GB U23 World Rowing Championships in summer 2017. Despite a hard fought race Exeter weren’t able to match the power of their rivals and finished 2nd.

Looking back on the event Danielle Semple explained “We were definitely the underdogs going into the event as were the only lightweight crew so we knew we would be at a weight disadvantage to the other doubles racing, however come our first race we were excited to get down the course after such a big build up. Our first race was against a Washington University crew who were 64lbs heavier than us, and as Internationals we knew they were going to test us. However, I think we both surprised ourselves by leading from the first 400 metres. The race went exactly to plan meaning we secured a place in the final against the GB U23 heavyweight double.

We knew going into the final there was nothing to lose, as we just wanted to use the race to gain experience against a top-class double and test our limits to see how hard we could push ourselves. The final was so special as we realised before we boated we’d made Exeter history as no female crew had ever made it to the final before, so all we really wanted to do was make the club and everyone supporting us proud. Everyone gathered around our boating area to cheer us on which was so special as it was amazing to see how excited everyone was to see us race. It meant so much that they all came and cheered us on, and it just fuelled us with confidence.

The race was very, very tough as they sadly were simply faster than us. But we definitely raced our own race and we couldn't have done anything differently. Hearing the cheers from the side of the bank was incredible and really pushed us to go even harder.

Overall, it was an amazing regatta and we both agreed we did ourselves proud as we raced as hard as we could and we made history for Exeter, so hoping to carry on the tradition next year!”

Susannah and Danielle now look ahead to this year’s World Rowing U23 Championships being held in Poznan from 25th-29th July where they will feature in the lightweight double coached by University of Exeter Director or Rowing Richard Tinkler. Best of luck from all of us at University of Exeter Sport!

Date: 12 July 2018

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