Lauren Parker overcame "a few hiccups" to show her quest for Paralympic gold was firmly on track with a dominant performance to secure a third straight City of Newcastle Paratriathlon crown on Saturday.
The Chisholm 32-year-old is paralysed from the waist down and broke one of her swim splints, which hold her legs straight in the water, just moments before the race began. Parker then sustained a flat tyre early in the 20-kilometre cycle leg but still managed to increase her race lead despite not having a spare.
The determined Novocastrian led at every change of the race, which also comprised a 750-metre swim and five-kilometre run, and crossed the finish line in one hour, 21 minutes and 15 seconds.
Parker was more than 17 minutes clear of Canberra's Emily Tapp, who was second in 1:38.39. Queenslander Sara Tait (1:51.29) was third.
"There were a couple of hurdles that I had to get over but I felt really good," Parker, who is the world paratriathlon champion in her classification, said.
"I'm super happy with how I performed and it was really good to know where I'm at putting a race together."
It was Parker's first paratriathlon race in almost a year. When the Paralympics were postponed for 12 months, she threw herself into training and is also now trying to also qualify for two hand-cycling events in Tokyo.
She has linked with new strength and conditioning coaches Shaun and Yvette Perrett, from Strength Republic, and said the improvement was noticeable.
"I'm definitely ahead of where I was last year," Parker told the Newcastle Herald. "I feel stronger. My swim is a lot better. I feel stronger on the bike. I'm on the way to where I need to be in August and I'm really happy at this point in time with my preparation."
Parker faces a quick turnaround to defend her Devonport Paratriathlon title in Tasmania next Saturday.
"I got the flat in the first lap of the bike and had to keep riding like that for another five laps. Every speed hump I came to, I had to lean over to one side to take the weight off it and I had to go easy around the corners, but I was still increasing my lead.
"If it wasn't for that I could've really shown what I could do on the bike, which was a shame, but it was all about the process and getting across the line first."
"I'm looking forward to putting the race together again next week and seeing the improvements I really have had," Parker said. "I'll be taking spares, just in case, and hopefully I can put in some good numbers on the bike next week."