THREE-time Coolangatta Gold champion and former Mooloolaba ironwoman Alicia Marriott believes Noosa teenager Jordan Mercer can follow in her father's footsteps by winning the gruelling event on Sunday, if she gets her swim leg right.
Mercer has finished sixth, 11th and seventh in her three starts in the prestigious endurance race but Marriott says the 19-year-old has the potential to cause a boilover and win this year's edition, which is 9.5km longer.
"She is obviously as talented as the rest of the girls and she has the physique to be an awesome endurance athlete," Marriott said.
"And she's another year older now so she could definitely be up there with the top girls.
"It just depends how her swimming is going. If she has had some swimming work, then I think she should definitely be one of the favourites."
Mercer is the daughter of 1992 men's winner Darren Mercer and the niece of Dean Mercer, the latter making it on to the podium four times.
She is expected to be strong in the 23km ski leg, which is 10km longer this year, and as a former state cross country age champion should be highly competitive in the 9km of beach running.
However, it is the 6.1km board leg - 1km longer than last year - from Burleigh to Currumbin where the Noosa Heads competitor may make a move.
Mercer has won the past three editions of the Molokai to Oahu world championship - a board torture test that takes more than six hours.
Although she did not return the Daily's call yesterday, Mercer said in June that having a longer Coolangatta Gold this year would "definitely benefit me because I seem to go better over long distances".
"The Molokai is a 52km race and I've won it the past few years, which shows how much I love long races," she said.
Marriott, who won at Coolangatta in 2007, 2009 and 2010, said this year's race would be taken out by the most tenacious of the competitors.
"Being a longer race, it's going to be totally different," she said.
"There's a difference between an endurance athlete over three hours compared to an endurance athlete over four hours.
"I think mental toughness is going to come into it so much and we will see who wants it the most.
"I think Brodie Moir looked really strong in the event last year, but in terms of mental toughness, then if Liz Pluimers wants it she would be up there because she has been close so many times.
"I think with Jordy it's going to all come down to her swim leg."
Last month, Mercer told the Daily she was "fitter and stronger than in previous years".
It showed at the Queensland Endurance Championships at Alexandra Headland a fortnight ago, when she won three of the four open women's events.
The winner of the women's race at Coolangatta will receive a record purse of $25,000.