As a stepping stone to the season, the Australia Day Aquathon always holds an important place in the eyes of Wollongong's elite triathletes.
But with a mid-year date in Glasgow for the Commonwealth Games on the radar, the 2014 edition possesses even more significance.
Among a high-class field of international competitors, Australia's finest triathletes will begin their competitive campaign tomorrow in Belmore Basin with Scotland on their minds.
Leading the charge is Wollongong-based Aaron Royle.
The former Novocastrian secured his ticket to Glasgow at the ITU World Championships in London last October.
"We have started to put a plan into place now for how we want to approach the Commonwealth Games and each race we do beforehand will serve its purpose," Royle said.
"We will hopefully be able to bring out my best and my best performance for the Commonwealth Games.
"It is one of the major goals for the year."
While Royle admits the aquathon provides a more laidback start to his Commonwealth Games pursuit, he expects every inch of tomorrow's seven-kilometre run and 900-metre swim to provide a barometer to his early season fitness levels.
"It is a good one to start the year on. For us it is quite early in the season still so we get to see how that pre-season training has gone with a little less pressure," Royle said.
"This year is big coming up late in the year with the races all around the world so it is a good way to ease in and a good way to start Australia Day.
"It is also a nice local event which we like to support and we get to see what form we are in as well."
Joining Royle in the men's field will be fellow Australian international competitors Brendan Sexton, Ryan Bailie and Jake Birtwhistle, with Natalie Van Coevorden, Tamsyn Moana-Veale and Charlotte McShane flying the Australian flag for the women.
Both genders will be attempting to overturn 2013 results that saw international competitors take home the title.
"The internationals got the better of us last year so hopefully I can go on and win it and if I don't, hopefully one of the other Australians can take the title on Australia Day," Royle said.