Triathlon is in the midst of a resurgence in New Zealand and some of the country's top athletes battled it out in Rotorua over the weekend.
The Blue Lake Multisport Festival's King and Queen of the Lake series attracted one of its strongest fields ever and it was Gisborne's Tayler Reid and Auckland's Ainsley Thorpe who claimed the respective titles.
Reid, the current under-23 world champion and 2018 Commonwealth Games bronze medallist, was dominant on Saturday.
He won the Go Physio Aquathon (5.5km forest run and 800m swim) in 27m 59s, ahead of former under-23 cross triathlon world champion Kyle Smith (28m 4s) and Rotorua's Xterra Asia-Pacific champion Sam Osborne (28m 20s).
Reid backed that up in the afternoon with a win in the Swim T3 2km Open Water Swim, finishing first in 26m 7s, just ahead of Sam Ward (26m 10s) and Smith (26m 11s).
Yesterday, the series came to a head with the Cycle Zone Sprint Triathlon (750m swim, 16km cycle, 5.5km run).
"I wasn't feeling so good this morning, it's hard doing three races in a row, but it was a cool weekend of training and racing. I was really happy to win the aquathon and the open water swim - I was hoping to get the clean sweep today but Sam was too quick on the run and Hayden got me within the last 800m," Reid said.
Ward won the triathlon in 54m 28s ahead of Hayden Wilde (54m 33s). Reid came in third with a time of 54m 44s which was enough to take the overall title.
"I'm stoked as, I'm really happy with how the weekend went overall. It was pretty close to being the same as a New Zealand champs field and the Kiwis are doing pretty well at the moment, it was a really good field to have down here."
It was his first time competing at the Blue Lake Multisport Festival and he said it was an event he would like to do again.
"Having three races in a row is cool and I like coming down to Rotorua. Basically this year, everyone is focusing on qualifying for the Olympics.
"The next big even is the World Triathlon Series in Abu Dhabi on March 10, that's the next big one. My training is on track, but everyone's going to be fighting tooth and nail all year for those Olympic spots.
"You can see this weekend, everyone is really close. It's going to be good because that competition lifts everyone."
Meanwhile, consistency was key for Thorpe on her way to the Queen of the Lake title.
On Saturday, she finished second in the Go Physio Aquathon with a time of 31m 51s. Sophie Corbidge, who finished third at the Mt Maunganui Surfbreaker Tri during the Christmas period, was first in the aquathon with a time of 31m 49s and defending Queen of the Lake Hannah Knighton was third 32m 4s.
Thorpe then finished third in the 2km open water swim (27m 38s) behind Natasha Bowyer (27m 36s) and Corbidge (27m 34s).
In Sunday's triathlon, Thorpe knew a win was crucial if she was going to pip Corbidge for the title. So, that's what she did, taking first in 1h 3m 16s, ahead of Knighton (1h 3m 16s) and Nicole van der Kaay (1h 3m 21s).at win, coupled with the fact Corbidge fourth, was enough for Thorpe to be crowned Queen.
"It feels pretty cool, I haven't won a competition for awhile and it was a really fun weekend, all three races, and it came down to the triathlon in the end. It was awesome to take it out."
She was second out of the water in the triathlon and remained in second place at the end of the bike.
"Four of us girls just ran together. Hannah picked up the run and I just stayed with her and then out sprinted her at the end. I was just hanging in there for the sprint finish and it worked out."
Thorpe was also competing in her first Blue Lake Multisport Festival.
"There's a good crowd and a lot of competition, it was an amazing event to be part of and I'll definitely be back next year."