They were the small team surrounded by dozens of the best school-aged multisporters in Manawatu and the children of Waverley Primary School more than held their own on Wednesday.
Principal Carwyn Caffell took six pupils to the Manawatu Interschool Primary/Intermediate Triathlon, held at the park around the Freyberg Community Pool, and came back with a gold medal from Daniel Johnston and a silver from Ella Thompson in the Year 5 boys and girls races respectively.
Among the other four Waverley children were a number of top 10 placings in fields of 60-70 competitors in each age group division.
"It was the cream from every school," said Caffell.
"Manawatu is really strong in triathlon, they actually run a [school] series over there."
The Year 5 race consisted of a 1km run, followed by a 3km bike ride and a 75m swim in the community pool the reverse order of typical triathlon events.
Johnston was coming 20th after the running section, but rode a brilliant bike leg to come through the pack to take the lead heading into the pool, where Caffell said many competitors were feeling the pace and seemed to be "swimming up and down on the spot".
It marked a good week for the Waverley children as two other members of the squad Camryn Caffell and Piper Neil came first and second respectively in Sunday's inaugural town triathlon in the 8-12 year grade.
"These guys gave up their morning tea break, while their mates were out playing games, for five weeks," said their principal.
"It was really good to go over there and see how we measure up, and we measure up really well."