Olympian Samantha Murray made it two wins from two as she claimed victory at the second Pentathlon GB National Ranking Competition of the year in Bath on Saturday.
Murray led from start to finish, making it it a hat-trick of UK victories, having also enjoyed success at the 2017 British Pentathlon Championships last June.
The 2014 World champion made the perfect start in the fencing hall, a stunning display seeing her record 23 victories and just three defeats from her 26 bouts.
Behind her, there was a return to form in the discipline for Plymouth’s Kerenza Bryson, who secured 20 victories. Bristol’s Charlie Follett (17 victories) and Morecambe’s Georgia Hannam (16 victories) who both competed alongside Bryson at the Budapest Indoor Competition last month rounded out the top four after the opening discipline at the University of Bath.
Clitheroe’s Murray led the way in the swim with an impressive time of 2:13.51 at such an early stage of the season.
She finished ahead of fellow Pentathlon GB National Training Centre based athletes Hannam (2:17.11) and Sarah Collin (2:17.35).
That meant 28-year-old Murray enjoyed a healthy 47-second advantage over Bryson after the opening two disciplines, with Hannam a further 16 seconds back in third.
Behind 19-year-old Hannam, the field was much closer though, with six athletes separated by just 24 seconds, leading to a thrilling battle behind the top two.
Wet and windy conditions meant that the shooting element played a significant factor in the race outcome, and although some rapid firing from Bryson saw her briefly take the lead, Murray’s experience told as she crossed the line eight seconds clear of her younger rival.
The quickest laser run of the day saw Bryson significantly cut the gap at the top, and more importantly put more distance between herself and the chasing pack.
That chasing pack was led by Saddleworth’s Olivia Green, who moved from seventh to third with the second quickest laser run time.
Things were still extremely tight for the final podium position though, with sixth place Francesca Summers just eight points behind Green after the opening four disciplines.
As expected, significant changes were still to follow in the horseriding discipline, most notably Green, who was eliminated after an error in the warm-up arena.
That left three in the battle for bronze and just a single knockdown for Stroud’s Zoe Davison saw her collect 293 points and take third behind Murray and Bryson, who both safely navigated their way around the course.
On a tricky, technical course, Yorkshire’s Clemmie Cooper was the sole athlete to collect the maximum 300 points, seeing her move just inside the top 10 of the final standings.
Behind the leading trio, Summers finished fourth with Hannam fifth.
There is no rest for Murray, who has taken in a training stint this week at the Institut National du Sport, de l’Expertise et de la Performance in Paris.
Then follows the first World Cup of the season in Cairo between February 28th and March 4th, with the second in Los Angeles between March 27th-31st.
The British Open Modern Pentathlon Championships are in Bath in June, followed by the World Cup Final in Astana, Kazakhsta, with the World Championships in Mexico City in September.