The Army's Captain Kat Matthews says she was "really happy" after finishing as runner-up in the Ironman North American Championship in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
She finished just five minutes and one second off the winner Daniela Ryf, despite receiving a five-minute time penalty earlier in the day for drafting.
"I broke the rules," she said, reflecting on the penalty. "This happens in professional racing in every race.
"It's obviously not good and it's a penalty for breaking the rules. I fully accept that.
"What happens is when you are cycling in a group of people you have to be 12m apart.
"As you approach an uphill segment, naturally you come together slightly.
"Unfortunately, I wasn't at the appropriate distance."
Capt Matthews would have finished within a second of the winner without the penalty, but the Army star says there is no point dwelling on "what-ifs".
"I don't think you can just take it off and compare it to the winner," she said.
"I think it would have been a more exciting race if I hadn't had the penalty. It just gives me a boost for the next one."
Capt Matthews put in a personal best on the running section of the triathlon and is now looking ahead to the World Championships in Hawaii where she will face another fierce battle against Ryf, who she calls "the best in the world".
"Winning Florida last year was a massive achievement for me but I think I needed this race to consolidate my performance at this distance against a bigger field and the best in the world," she said.
"Daniela Ryf has won four of the Hawaii World Championships in the last five years, I think.
"She is truly the greatest at the moment and this performance really showed me that I can push the limits."
Cover image: Captain Kat Matthews (right) on the podium in Tulsa (Picture: Mark Matthews).