Last year Maddy Brunton was an unknown commodity who took the New Zealand triathlon scene by storm.
This season, the 19-year-old has a target on her back - though it didn't matter a jot to her rivals as she stormed home to win yesterday's season-opening Contact Trophy in Rotorua yesterday.
And fresh from one win, the Hamilton triathlete has now set her sights on Sunday's Craigs Investment Partners Tinman in Mount Maunganui, where she'll line up in a top-class field ready to defend her title.
"Last year's win in the Tinman was a bit of a surprise and I wasn't expecting to take it out," Brunton said. "No one really knew who I was but now they'll be looking out."
She made a slow start of yesterday's race, with rival Megan Blackett leading the swim and Brunton one minute down on the swim exit.
But the race was to change pace as Brunton knuckled down to work, creeping her way up the field on the 40km bike course.
Blackett was first on to the 11km two-lap run but it wasn't long before Brunton was running shoulder to shoulder with her fellow teenager.
"We were together at 2.5km then I surged past her and lifted the pace," Brunton said at the finish. "I just kept on going.
"It was a lot harder today than what I was expecting, pretty awful to be honest and I'm happy for it to be over. It was a bit of a battle out there and Megan didn't make it easy for me but I managed to push through."
Tauranga's well-performed Janine Simpson was third in another top outing from the 33-year-old.
The men's race played a similar tune. Sam Franklin led the swimmers out of the lake but by the end of the first bike lap Mark Bowstead was in the lead with Callum Millward chasing him.
Bowstead was first on to the run with a gap of 2mins 20secs on Millward. By the end of lap one Millward had closed that to 1min 10secs. Millward got past with 500m to go.
"I just wanted to stay in touch because I thought I could outrun him," Millward, who will also line up in the Tinman, said. "My big goal is the Port of Tauranga Half Ironman which is five weeks down the track. I'm doing these races for speed work to work on my leg turnover. I think the racing is putting me towards the low 70 minutes for that run, which is where I want it to be."
Results: Elite Women: Maddy Brunton 2hrs 29min 37secs 1, Megan Blackett 2hrs 31min 45secs 2, Janine Simpson 2hrs 35min 19secs 3. Elite Men: Callum Millward 2hrs 11min 14secs 1, Mark Bowstead 2hrs 11min 32secs 2, Sam Franklin 2hrs 15min 18secs 3.