When World Champion Craig “Crowie” Alexander powered out of the water on Sunday after his Huskisson Triathlon Festival rivals you knew something special was about to happen.
Alexander, a five-time world champion, racked up his six Huskisson victory and he took on a strong field.
World Champion Pete Jacobs, Joe Skipper from the UK who is flagged as a potential world champion in coming years, Levi Maxwell, James Davy and locals Mitch Cunningham and Matt Lewis were all in the pro-field.
In total there were 13 "pros" in the ultimate distance men’s race while the women’s race attracted the likes of Kate Bevilaqua and rising star Holly Grice.
The race, for the first time in the event’s history, was moved to a new course, both in distance and bike location.
The new course took in a 1.9km ocean swim in Jervis Bay, followed by a 90km bike ride through Huskisson and Woollamia and finished off with a 21.1km run along the coastal path between Huskisson and Vincentia just for good measure.
In the ultimate distance, it was Jacobs and Davy that exited the water within two seconds of each other with Alexander a further 43 seconds back.
Shoalhaven’s Mitch Cunningham, on the bike, took to the front of the field, with Alexander and Maxwell stamping their authority in hot pursuit.
Maxwell and Alexander entered transition together, tussling to be the first to rack their bike.
Alexander, with Cunningham in his sights, showed why he is regarded as one of the best of all time, keeping his composure pulling away from Maxwell on the run, and hunting down Cunningham to cross the finish line first.
The champion now has six wins from 10 Husky appearances.
Alexander finished in a time of 3.55.38 hours, two minutes ahead of Maxwell in second place (3.57.37 hrs) with Berry’s Cunningham surprising many with a career-best and bike course record to round out the podium in a time of 3.57.49 hours.
Alexander said he was not sure about how he would go.
“I was a little apprehensive about the race. I haven’t raced in five months but, I’m probably the fittest I have been in a while,” he said.
“At my age, you keep wondering when the end is coming, but I still love the sport, probably more than ever.”
Alexander said he also loves the local event.
“There is a lot to love about Big Husky and it reminds me of how the sport was in the 1990s,” he said.
“The race has a great atmosphere where the whole town gets behind it, big crowds and great atmosphere, that and the whole family just love holidaying here.”
A blistering quick swim by ITU sensation Grice, in the women’s race, was not enough to hold off Western Australia's Bevilaqua for the victory.
Grice exited the water 3.41 minutes ahead of Laura Dennis with Bevilaqua a further four seconds behind.
On the bike, Grice was able to hold onto her lead with Bevilaqua moving past Dennis.
Bevilaqua, in the run, pulled out the female run of the day with a 1.30.10 hour 21.1km run leg to storm to the front of the field to win in a time of 4.33.39 hours, ahead of Grice (4.35.21 hrs) with Dennis (4.45.17 hours) rounding out the minor placings.
Bevilaqua said it was good to be back in Husky.
“It has been 12-years since I last raced here in Husky and I knew that Holly was going to be way out the front in the swim. From there onward it was just about staying consistent, luckily I was able to get her in my sights on the run, overtake her and hold her off,” Bevilaqua said.
Over 4500 competitors from all around Australia competed over the Husky Triathlon festival with races on Saturday and Sunday ranging from the kids Blue Dinosaur Miniman Triathlon, the ocean swim and fun runs to the Shimano Husky Long Course race.
The 2019 festival was the festival’s 14 year and is now the second largest festival of its kind in Australia.
See more: Photos from Sunday morning