We are very fortunate to have a variety of qualified coaches at AVTC. With a mixture of 'favourite' sports between us, there is nothing that gives the coaching team more pleasure than seeing people achieve their goals. These range from swimming your first 400m front crawl without stopping to nailing that parkrun and from smashing out a sprint distance PB to completing an Ironman.
As coaches, we celebrate each athlete's differences and abilities, and do what we can to ensure each training session is suitable for everyone, regardless of ability, and fun. This way, we manage to maintain our club ethos of enjoying training with like minded individuals in an all inclusive environment.
The club and its coaches abides by the British Triathlon Code of Ethics.
Elisha Fiddaman (BTF level 2)
I joined AVTC in April 2018, 6 months after quitting smoking. My (particularly athletic) younger brother bet me that after 12 years of smoking and avoiding cardio there was no way I could complete a triathlon.
I have been a casual swimmer all my life and even competed in some races as a teenager, where I was forced to do backstroke as I couldn’t dive and didn’t like putting my face in the water. I had never owned or ridden a road bike and hadn’t so much as run for a bus since about the age of 12.
I joined the club to learn more about the sport and help me work out how I was supposed to put three sports together when I’d never even been good at one. I was instantly taken in by the energy of the club and how friendly and inclusive it was. Nobody cared that I wasn’t ‘sporty’ and that I couldn’t run very far or very fast, they just seemed genuinely happy to have me there and I had so much fun.
I completed my first pool-based sprint distance triathlon in September 2018. In 2019, I moved to the open water… Then I brought a road bike… Then I extended the distance of my races… Then I entered some running races… And then I was asked if I’d like to become a coach.
My brother was wrong and it turns out, I’m pretty ‘sporty’ after all.
Favourite biscuit: Big fan of a plain digestive or a shortbread… But I don’t discriminate, all biscuits deserve to be eaten.
Wendy Davies - head coach (BTF Level 2)
I joined the club in 2012 after receiving a surprise entry into Faringdon Triathlon as a birthday present and had 3 months to learn everything! I’d just taught myself to swim front crawl, having not done it for 30+ years and running was only something I did to stop the kids from killing themselves. I was still a nervous swimmer and terrified of open water swimming.
I have since competed in many types of races up to Half Ironman Triathlons, 10km swims and long distance sportives. I have raced for Team GB at the European Middle Distance Aquabike and World Long Distance Aquabike Championships, proving anything is possible!
I became a BTF Level 2 coach in 2017 to give something back to the club that helped and supported me. I really enjoy helping all athletes develop and improve their skills. In 2020 I became Head Coach and looking forward to developing our coaching programme. We truly are an inclusive and welcoming club for everyone of all ages and abilities. We are very friendly and supportive and can help you achieve your goals.
Favourite biscuit: Chocolate dipped Viennese biscuit!
Kevin Sharp (BTF Level 2 Coach)
From coaching youth rugby to triathlon! An obvious move at 49!!
I completed two sprint tris in my first season and - with great coaching and belief from the fun and friendly club members - progressed to complete my first half iron man at the end of this, my third, season!
Please do come along - whatever your goal - and have some fun doing it!
Favourite biscuit: Any with chocolate on.
Andy Male (BTF level 2)
I joined AVTC in 2007 from a background of playing local first team rugby. I had always been an okay swimmer and could ride a bike due to lots of Mountain Bike racing, it was just the run (and still is) my weakest discipline.
I did my BTF level 1 coaching qualification, started coaching alongside Harvey and really took great enjoyment and pride in seeing the improvements made by athletes in the club.
I then progressed to my BTF level 2 Qualification and now work alongside a number of very talented coaches that make up the clubs coaching team.
When I am not coaching or training I will usually be about with my unruly Labradors, drinking a funny looking green juice smoothie (or perhaps a real ale or 2).
Favourite biscuit: Aussie Tim Tams, but in their absence, Phoebe's coconut Anzac biscuits.
Ben Wakeling (BTF level 2)
Triathlon always appealed as a way of being really all body fit, the only problem was I couldn’t swim front crawl.
After trying to teach myself over a couple years. I had a go at a triathlon which gave me the confidence to try a club session (in 2014).
I found myself in a lane with friendly souls all of us trying to improve with encouragement and technical guidance from good coaches, I slowly got stronger and more relaxed in the water.
I now consider the swim to be a solid part of my triathlon and am looking to improve all round to gain some elusive speed.
I became a coach in 2016 to help support the friendly, have a go attitude of the club.
I want to help other to realise their goals. I enjoy the technical elements of the sport and discovering how much of it all, is being held back by your own self imposed limits.
Favourite biscuit: A great chocolate chip cookie cannot be beaten
Mark Harvey (BTF level 2 and club founder)
I’m an Abingdon man, moving here at the age of 18 months when my father was in the RAF and was posted to the then airfield.
I am married to Suzy and have two young children, and have been a keen sports person throughout my life, with many years of football, athletics, rugby and now triathlon behind me.
Triathlon came about after the realisation age was catching up with me and my body could no longer take playing rugby week in, week out and I needed an alternative way to get that nervous adrenaline and fitness buzz!
My racing is based around surviving the swim, blasting the bike and hating the run!
Coaching at the club for many years has provided huge satisfaction and was never a chore, always a pleasure! I get a huge buzz from seeing the club grow, going from strength to strength...long may that continue!
Favourite biscuit: Custard Cream - lets face it, it has everything... but to be honest, I'll devour whatever is in the tin!
Rod Murray (BTF Foundation Level & England Athletics Event Group (Endurance))
After having been a runner on and off for most of my life running everything from 800m to ultra marathons, a relocation to Abingdon and desire to regain fitness and vary my training led me to joining AVTC in Feb 2022.
I was initially struck by the friendly, social and inclusive nature of the club. It was great to see people of different abilities and ages training together and all taking something positive from the sport.
Personally, having never swum competitively before and I initially noticed improvements in my swimming ability through the technical instruction delivered by the coaches.
Recognising that the club relies on volunteers to operate, in early 2023, I volunteered to deliver running sessions to AVTC using my Athletics Coaching qualifications, and in late 2023 I gained the BTF Foundation Level Tri Coach qualification. I find coaching a rewarding experience, mainly due to the social interactions with other people that it enables. I thoroughly recommend it to anyone thinking about doing it.
Favourite biscuit: Chocolate Hob Nobs