George Haynes had to wipe the tears from his eyes before lining up in the ironman at the Eastern Region championships on Sunday, although tears of pride quickly gave way to tears of joy as he held on for a tenacious win.
It was a landmark day for the Waihi Beach club, where the 24-year-old Great Britain representative is now coaching, with the ironman win the first for the club in decades.
But it also capped a great carnival for the Haynes family, with younger brother Charlie winning the under-19 ironman for the Mount Maunganui club in the previous race.
"I was crying and had to pull myself together before the start," George Haynes said. "I'm just so proud of him - he's just 17 and to come over here without mum and dad and do so well is just so cool."
The older sibling led early in his race but was reeled in on the final board leg by Piha's Ben Gillies and Mount Maunganui's Julien Lalanne, needing a sprint to get him home.
His younger brother, however, had more success with his Mount Maunganui team spectacularly dominant in defending their overall ERC club title.
Mount finished on 223 points, with Piha second on 90.
The host club's dominance was widespread, although club coach John Bryant gained plenty of satisfaction from the open ironwoman win by Jess Miller.
The 18-year-old recently moved to Australia to train with the Northcliffe club, although she was particularly proud of winning her first open ironman title on home sand, especially after several other results did not go her way.
"I was leading the run-swim-run by quite a bit and turned around to see four girls come down a wave and catch me," Miller said.
"That was pretty gutting - then I had a terrible start in the under-19 ironwoman.
But training with the Northcliffe girls has been amazing - they are the best in Australia and probably the world so it's really good to compare myself against them."
Other notable performers included world champion kayaker Teneale Hatton (Piha), who dominated the women's ski race, while another New Zealand kayaking star Scott Bicknell (Ocean Beach Kiwi) won the men's ski race.
Mount Maunganui's Olivia Eaton comfortably won the women's beach sprint. Mairangi Bay's Jake Hurley celebrated his 18th birthday in style by winning the open men's beach sprint and the under-19 men's flags.