IT was a case of second time's a charm for first-time Warrnambool foreshore triathlon winner Jarrod Johnstone.
The talented athlete slashed more than two minutes off his previous time to complete the promenade-based course in under an hour on Sunday, February 11.
Johnstone, 37, overcame past winner Ruben de Silva-Smith and Dallas Jones to take out the 2024 men's edition.
The father-of-two completed the 500-metre swim, 20-kilometre ride and 5km run in 59 minutes.
Johnstone said it was a pleasing result after he set himself a pre-race goal.
"I came second last year. There was a guy (Adam Conquest) from Melbourne who flogged us all by about three minutes," he said.
"My mission today, knowing he might have been back again, was to be quicker in the swim and the bike.
"I was about two minutes quicker this year than last, so I am pretty happy with it."
The event was part of Johnstone's training regime for the Geelong half ironman at the end of March.
He credited the Warrnambool Tri Club for its ongoing support.
"I have jumped in with like-minded people and it's great. There's a group of mostly young dads who I ride with and we all get up stupidly early and go for a bike ride and then get back to the family.
"It's not just a sport, it's more than that.
"It's a nice club culture as well, everyone gets around each other and eggs each other on, and for preparation it's good. There's no practice like doing a triathlon."
Long-term Johnstone, who has completed four full ironman competitions, including the famous Hawaiian event, wants to return to those distances.
"The longer the better - the full ironman is my favourite event," he said.
"With the kids I haven't been able to manage the training hours yet but once they get older I'll go back and do the longer ones."
Weather conditions for the foreshore triathlon, which started at 7.30am, were favourable for competitors.
"It was calm conditions for the swim, a nice little ripple, no wind and not too hot - you couldn't get much better," he said.
The battle between Johnstone, who moved to Warrnambool two years ago, and Port Fairy-aligned de Silva-Smith ebbed and flowed.
"For a time I was leading the bike and after the first lap he came through. He's a stronger cyclist than me," he said.
"The main aim then was to not give him too much lead, knowing he's more of a cyclist than a runner and I am more of a runner than a cyclist."
Johnstone took a large chunk of the three-lap run circuit to eclipse his main rival.
"I was worried because he led for almost two laps of the run and it seemed like he was going to keep enough distance," he said.
But Warrnambool-based Johnstone "took an opportunity and went hard for 500m" to take the lead with 2km to go.
New Zealand-raised, Dunkeld-based Brooke Gordon enjoyed her battle with Warrnambool icon Jenny Dowie in the women's section.
Gordon won from Dowie, now in her mid-60s, and Hamilton's Gabby Lanman.
"You always know she's going to have a good race no matter what," the winner said.
"She's always consistent on the bike so it pushes you to keep going and not let up otherwise she'll catch you."
Gordon credited her performance to a new training block.
"I have started swimming with the ocean swimmers on Mondays so that has really helped with my swimming in the sea," she said.
"It's a lot harder in the ocean than a pool, so that's really good practice, and I saw some of them here today which was nice."