The six-time champion Joanna Lawn has received top seeding for next month's Ironman New Zealand.
The Aucklander is the first person to win the same Ironman event six times in succession but she's expected to face her toughest challenge to extend her record in Taupo on March 7.
She faces a contingent of proven international talent although another New Zealander Gina Ferguson from Christchurch is expected to provide her sternest test.
Japan's Emi Shiono, third last year, is the second seed ahead of Scotland's Bella Bayliss while Fergusion has the fourth seeding ahead of the former world long distance champion Lisbeth Kristensen and Australian Charlotte Paul.
The event director Jane Patterson says any of the top six seeds could win and Lawn will have to be at her best to hold off one of the strongest fields they've had.