Caroline Steffen’s first victory of 2018 — and first since becoming a mom — was also her third win in three starts at Ironman 70.3 Sunshine Coast.

Eight months after giving birth to her son, Xander, the Swiss Cervélo athlete known as Xena three-peated in front of her adopted-hometown crowd in Mooloolaba, Australia. "Having so many friends here and having my third win and a fast time in front of them is special," Xena told Trizone after the race. "Overall I am very pumped." 

Xena has good reason to be thrilled with her performance, which follows a third-place showing at Ironman 70.3 Vietnam in March and second at the Ironman 70.3 Asia-Pacific Championship earlier this month. "I had a shocking swim but a really good bike ride, especially the second lap," Xena said of her women's-best 2:16:49 bike split on her Cervélo P5. This gave her a share of the lead at T2, and after taking sole possession of it in the early kilometres of the run she never looked back.

If her 4:05:43 overall time is any indication, Xena's pro rivals have every reason to be worried. "As my fitness increases, I am enjoying (racing) more and more," she said. "It took me eight months to get it sorted, but I feel like I am in a good spot now. It used to be all about winning, but now a win...is the cherry on top of the cake. If I come second, my son Xander still loves me, so it is okay."