A shorter swim is likely to be welcomed by kiwi triathletes on the start line at the Cape Town ITU World Series triathlon this weekend.

The races this year will be across the sprint distance, rather than Olympic in previous years.

Kiwi triathlete Simone Ackermann says that's down to the freezing cold water temperature.

She says the first two years they had it an Olympic distance but the 11-12 degree water temperature has meant it is now a sprint distance.

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Racing starts on Monday morning, with Olympic qualification points up for grabs.

The New Zealand team has had a little help from a local friend in South Africa.

They've linked with South African pro Richard Murray, who is currently out injured and he's helped them with information about the area and training.

Ackermann says Murray, who won the New Plymouth World Cup earlier this month, has been providing valuable advice.

She says he was able to show them a good swimming pool and guide where to run during training.

Ackermann joins Rebecca Spence and Nicky Samuels in the women's event on Monday morning with Tony Dodds lining up in the men's.