Courtney Hancock insists she feels relaxed as she prepares for Sunday's IronWoman Series super sprint round in Bulli.
By her own admission, Hancock prefers the sport's endurance format and the three-time IronWoman champion has become the hunted. She sits in third place in this year's series as new crop of athletes have stepped up and impressed.
However, Hancock says she has been training hard and can't wait for the challenge on Sunday.
"Being round three, I think a lot of people believe this round is crucial because it can put you in a spot where you could win or lose the series," the 31-year-old said.
"But I'm not thinking about that at all. I'm just thinking about getting through the day, looking after myself and focusing on the task at hand. I'm not thinking about sitting in third spot and where I could be after this [round]. But at the same time, I am happy where I am.
"The next generation of athletes, especially in the girls [competition], is so amazing to see. They're really trying to focus on being that full-time professional athlete which obviously then makes the competition go higher. You always want to race the best field, it improves you as an athlete when you're out there. It's definitely made me want to dig in and train harder, and also work on my recovery as well."
The next generation of athletes, especially in the girls [competition], is so amazing to see. You always want to race the best field.Courtney Hancock
Athletes competed over longer distances in the opening two rounds in Coolangatta and Burleigh Heads.
Sunday's format consists of three separate, 10-minute races with a five-minute rest break between each race.
Hancock said super sprinting wasn't her preferred part of the series.
"I've always felt like, over my years as an athlete, endurance has come quite easily to me," she said.
"It's been the sprint stuff that I've had to work a lot harder on. But as I've got older and more experienced, I feel like my speed has definitely come a long way.
"We' definitely changed up the training going into the short stuff, really working on our skills at the moment. The six months leading into the Coolangatta Gold is a really tough slog and it's very challenging trying to go from that endurance speed to fast speed. That first board leg is going to be very tough.
"I've been really focusing on my speed, whether it's been on the beach doing sand sprinting or out in the ocean. My swimming coach has been really focusing on that as well. The gym is also somewhere where I've been focusing on doing heavier weights."
Hancock has spent time in Bulli in preparation for the round. She visited St Joseph's Catholic Primary School on Friday, where she spoke to students about the importance of surf safety and signed autographs.
"I absolutely love this spot in Bulli," she said.
"Being a NSW girl, we raced here many times and I've actually done a lot of Sydney Water [Surf Series] events here as well, it's a great beach. I really love the community here. The surf lifesaving support here is fantastic and there's definitely a lot of old faces to catch up with while I'm here."
While you're with us the Illawarra Mercury is offering sport readers 20% off an annual digital subscription. Sign up to stay up to date with all the local sports you love for only $3 a week. Terms and conditions apply.