THE triathlon season is in full swing with Sam Appleton, Patrick Baldacchino and Andrea Oracki looking forward to the upcoming Ironman season.
"I think we are starting to see potential in our form," said Appleton, of Warrimoo.
Appleton, 22, has raced in Europe against the big names and was a contender to represent Australia at the London Olympics.
At the Asia Pacific Half Ironman Championship in Auckland, he was placed seventh after starting the run with the pack before being sent the wrong way by marshals.
Appleton is balancing the demands of university, work at Springwood Pool and training 25 hours a week.
Andrea Oracki, 26, of Glenbrook, and Patrick Baldacchino, 23, of Blaxland, had their first professional race for the season at the PEARL iZUMi Huskisson Long Course.
"I was happy with fourth," said Andrea Oracki, recent ITU Age Group World Champion.
She was second out of the water against specialist swimmers before being pressed on the bike.
"The cycling needs some work, but I have now a new set of ENVE race wheels, I look forward to my next race," she said.
Andrea is targeting the 70.3 Ironman circuit with a long-term goal of going to Kona, Hawaii for the Ironman Championships.
Patrick Baldacchino is just returning to the sport after a long hiatus and is being coached by previous Australian Ironman Champion Trent Chapman.
"I always wanted to return to triathlon but I wanted a trade behind me. Having this break has made me hungrier than ever to succeed," Baldacchino said.
He won multiple Junior National Championships and represented Australia. "I have only been back for six months with injury setbacks but it looks promising," he said.
Blue Mountains Marathon Clinic president Ben Berriman says Baldacchino is as good as Chris McCormack.
"Pat is a very rare athlete in that he is like Chris McCormack, succeeding at National Cross Country races against specialist runners and then succeeding in triathlon," Berriman said.
Appleton was the best placed professional of the three at Huskisson, placing second overall, closing out the 20km run with a blistering time of 1:09:25, after a 2 km swim of 22:10 and 83km bike of 2:02:56.
The three are considering entering the Elite Energy Olympic Distance race at Wollongong on March 10. This race is the premier race of its distance in NSW and is a qualifying race for the ITU World championship in London.