Horowhenua Rowing Club is using a stretch of the Manawatū River in an effort to turn back the clock.

A once vibrant club that had produced Olympians in the past, it was looking to return to full strength, buoyed by the return of a group of women who started rowing while at college in Levin.

In recent times, with no sheds to use as a base, a small group of rowers had kept the club alive by training on the Manawatū River

Those efforts were rewarded with medals at recent Masters level regattas, and a current band of rowers were keen to see the club return to the days when it had representatives of all age and grade levels at regattas.


Club representative Jo Mason said they were pleased to see the women back.

"They have rowed with some very high-level athletes, and the new lease of life we feel with their return is just what the club needs, especially in the lead up to our Legion of Masters Rowers Regatta at the end of April which attracts athletes from all over the country," she said.

One notable rower to return was Rachael Corcoran, who rowed for a number of years under world and Olympic Coach Dick Tonks and had combined in crews with former world champion Philippa Baker.

Corcoran won national medals at intermediate and premier level before retiring in her mid-20s, while current rowing partner Kate Judd continued rowing when she moved to Wellington.

The duo marked their comeback with a debut win in their first time as a double, having previously rowed together only in fours.

They entered the Masters double skulls race and beat an all-male crew - a feat made all the more remarkable as Corcoran was the oldest rower in the field by seven years.

They duo also combined with two members of the Petone club to take a win in the Masters Women's Quad.

Corcoran said while Judd was taking a well-earned maternity break, she was now looking to an old school friend as a replacement for an upcoming Legions regatta.


"We are hopeful, but also realistic about our chances. This regatta usually attracts past international level rowers and the likelihood is we are going to come up against them in some races."

"The thing I love most about Masters rowing is that we can combine age groups and they also have mixed gender races where we can combine with our blokes. It makes for a great atmosphere."

Results from recent regattas:
Whanganui Club and Secondary Schools: (A finals): W Int 1x – S Rawlinson 4th, M Club 4x – A Bealing, G Berghan, K Horan, J Dorne-McDonald 3rd, M Club 2x – A Bealing, J Dorne-McDonald 5th, M Int 1x – K Horan 3rd, M Club 4+ - A Bealing, K Horan, K Dombroski, J Dorne-McDonald 2nd.

Jury Cup: (A finals): Any gender Masters 2x – R Corcoran, K Judd 1st, Any gender Masters 4x (with Petone) – R Corcoran, K Judd 1st. (Division races): W Int 1x – S Rawlinson 3rd, M Club 4x – A Bealing, J Watson, K Horan, J Dorne-McDonald 3rd, W Club 8 (with Petone) R Corcoran, K Judd, S Rawlinson, R Saulbrey 4th, M Int 2x – J Watson, K Horan 2nd, M Club 2x – A Bealing, J Dorne-McDonald 3rd, W Int 4+ P Watson, S Rawlinson, K Judd, R Saulbrey 4th.