“Excited and nervous” is Claire Adorna’s mindset entering the Super League Triathlon this weekend.

Kim Kilgroe is “scared sh*tless,” but she craves that level of pressure in her pursuit of improvement.

Both Filipinos have the same goal: to reach at least the second stage on Saturday afternoon. Their race flags off at 3pm at ONEº15 Marina Cove.

Saturday’s Eliminator format is three stages of 300m swim, 5km bike and 2km run with 10-minute breaks between each stage. Only the top 15 will advance to the second round, followed by the top 10. Sunday’s Enduro format, also a flag-off time at 3pm, is a continuous swim-bike-run three times, with the last two athletes being eliminated after each discipline.

The speedy format of the League, on top of a very stacked field, means there’ll be no room for error. Adorna is even considering leaving her water bottle in a bid to save time.

The opportunity of racing the professionals leaves Adorna still in a sense of wonder, who constantly checked their Instagram pages prior to the weekend. The field includes the likes of Olympian Katie Zaferes, the current leader of the league; 2018 Asian Games champion Yuko Takahashi; ASTC regular Hilda Choi and many American and European athletes.

“I just can’t believe I’m gonna be racing them tomorrow,” said Adorna, who drew a pontoon slot beside American Summer Rappaport. “I plan to hang on to them in the swim and get a good place so I can get into a good bike pack. Not last, hopefully!”

Among the fans will be Adorna’s friends, some of who flew in from the Philippines to support her, others who are based in Singapore.

Kilgroe, as with any other race, aims to maintain her laser-sharp focus to keep up with the short-course format that requires “Supersonic speed.” Though racing the pros induces a certain level of anxiety, Kilgroe relishes the higher competition as she aims to continue improving and notch her first SEA Games slot.

“To be able to push with the best of the best in the ITU is my deepest desire because I have to keep levelling up. I have to keep facing that pressure,” said Kilgroe, who placed 9th at last year’s Asian Games.

Her strongest competition to earn a SEA Games berth on home turf in December is Adorna and Kim Mangrobang, the 2015 and 2017 SEA Games champions respectively.

Right now, all Kilgroe wants to do is find some coconuts that don’t cost $50 to beat the heat.

“Maybe I’ll go climb some trees later,” she said in a jovial tone.

Five of Singapore’s junior triathletes – Nicholas Rachmadi; Luke Chua; Aaron Kiss; Herlene Yu and Emma Middleditch – will line up in the U19 championship on Sunday morning. The women start at 9am while the men flag off at 10:30am.

Find the broadcast information here.