South African Richard Murray has continued his dominance at the New Plymouth leg of the World Cup series, winning a third successive men's title.
American Katie Zaferes was too slick in the women's race as overseas athletes dominated the sprint distance races held in drizzly conditions.
Murray shook off the effects of an Achilles injury which affected his preparation, pulling clear early in the 5km running leg.
American Matthew McElroy was second, followed by New Zealand's Ryan Sisson, who went one place better than his fourth of last year.
Leading Kiwi hope Andrea Hewitt was never a factor in the women's race, struggling with the cold conditions on the swim.
The triple Olympian finished well down the field, as Zaferes powered clear to register her second victory in New Plymouth.
It was the fourth straight year a US woman has won the event, with the 27-year-old's only hiccup coming on the run when she took a wrong turn and was penalised.
She still had the stamina to win from Canada's Joanna Brown and Belgium's Claire Michel.
The World Cup series continues next week on the Gold Coast, when it returns to the full Olympic distance.