The IRONMAN Western Australia's record books took a thorough beating, with dual Olympic gold medallist Alistair Brownlee and New Zealand's Teresa Adam shredding the old race records.
Brownlee set a new time of 7:45:20, lowering the old mark by more than six minutes, while Adams took an axe to the women's best time, clocking a remarkable 8:38:42. Second placed women Sarah Piampiano and third placed Gurutze Frades, also went under the time (8:49:45) set in 2018 by Caroline Steffen.
For a period Brownlee was on Tim Don's IRONMAN world record pace, but with discretion being the better part of valour, he cooled his jets and concentrated on getting safely across the line and grabbing his Kona qualification.
"I woke up the day after Kona and I wanted to do another IRONMAN, so I had two goals coming here. The first was to get around an IRONMAN without capitulating and I was pretty close, so I am happy with that. The second was to qualify for Kona and I have done that, so I am chuffed," Brownlee said.
"This event is fantastic, the sea is beautiful out there and I stood on the beach this morning and it was so calm and the water was gorgeous. The course is beautiful, flat and well organised and well supported. Right out there in the middle of the 'outback' there were tri clubs set up and cheering us on."
Brownlee was very happy with his race and his first trip to the West but he thinks there is still room for improvement and more time to be gained on the quick Busselton course.
"It was quite windy today and I honestly think that if it wasn't so windy, there is five more minutes in the bike there easy. No doubt about it. Five minutes on the bike and run a bit quicker, and this course could be really quick," he said.
"Busselton has a very different vibe to the other part of Australia. It is really relaxed and the people are nice, chilled out and the countryside is beautiful. I have really enjoyed being here and I would like to come again."
The hard work paid off for local Perth athlete Matt Burton who had the race of a lifetime, ripping almost 13 minutes from his 2018 IRONMAN Western Australia time to go under eight hours and finally punch his ticket to the IRONMAN World Championship in Kona.
"It is a pretty significant day. I was talking to my fiancée and she said, 'Obviously you want to win, but what is the realistic goal'. I said 'I want to perform to a level that I think my training reflects'. Kona qualification is a huge bonus but I am most pleased with the 7:55 on home soil. That is pretty special and it will take a while to sink in," he said.
IRONMAN debutante Sam Appleton was on a steep learning curve in such a stacked field, but he swam and rode like a demon with Brownlee, before the wheels came off 15km into the run.
"Part of me is happy and satisfied and the other part of me is thinking, not 'What if" but it gives me a little bit of motivation and stuff to work on. The swim is there and that is the first time I have ridden 180km, it is the longest ride I have ever done," he said.
Teresa Adam is now three for three in her Australian IRONMAN races and she was delighted to see that the hard work of the winter break showed up under race conditions.
"The race was awesome, with outstanding conditions that made for a very fast day. I definitely came in wanting to do a good bike ride and the conditions contributed to fast times overall. The swim was calm and awesome and while it got hot on the run, being flat enabled you to keep a nice pace going," she said.