Television footage of Sunday’s Nutri-Grain Ironman series round reveals a large marine animal – possibly a giant shark or a pilot whale – breaching from the water at Newcastle Beach.

Four days earlier a man was attacked by a shark 10km away from where the animal was spotted.

Last Wednesday, Glen Folkhard was attacked by what experts believed to be a juvenile great white at Redhead Beach.

Channel 10 footage from Sunday’s Nutri-Grain Ironman Series round in Newcastle clearly shows what organisers believe to be either a giant shark or pilot whale breaching inside the competitors’ buoys.

Ironwoman Kirsty Holmes alerted organisers this week after watching a replay of the ironwoman race where the creature surfaced just metres ahead of where she was paddling.

Holmes said she believed it to be a shark.

“I was at home on Monday night and just watching a replay of the round on You Tube when I saw it,” Holmes said.

“I was actually looking at the top of the screen because at that stage I think I was coming fourth or fifth and thought I should be coming into picture, then all of a sudden I saw the fin and said ‘What was that!’?’

“As soon as saw it I thought it was a shark. I rang Zane (Holmes) and he agreed, saying it was either a shark or a pilot whale.

“I suppose it’s good for the sport because there’s now plenty of hits on YouTube, but the only reason I thought it was a shark was because it didn’t resurface

A Nutri-Grain Ironman Series spokesman said: “We didn’t know about it until after it happened and if we did know about it on the day we would have acted accordingly to what the authority – council lifeguard or surf lifesavingAaustralia – required and they would have closed the beach and we would have removed our competitors.

“But we don’t think it’s a shark. It looks to be either a pilot whale or a false killer whale. Safety is always the priority. Our competitors encounter sharks and dolphins on a regular basis while training and if it hadn’t been for a shark attack the week earlier I don’t think we’d be talking about it.”