Club Coaches

 

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 100m front crawl without stopping to nailing that Park Run 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.

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Wendy Davies

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!

 

Head coach

BTF Level 2 Coach 

Ben Wakeling

 

BTF Level 2 Coach

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

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Elisha Fiddaman

 

BTF Level 1 Coach

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.

 

I completed my Level 1 BTF qualification in November 2019 and I plan to continue to higher level qualifications in the near future.

 

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.

Jonnie Bevan

 

BTF level 1 coach

I joined AVTC in early 2019 having moved to Oxford a few months prior. I first started triathlon while on my year abroad in 2016, and fell in love with the sport almost immediately. Within a few weeks of joining the university club, I took part in my first race. It was not a pretty sight - I almost missed the swim cut-off, didn't know the rules of transition and I walked almost the entirety of the run, but I finished! The community was so welcoming, even as I hobbled around the race course, and I knew I'd found my new favourite hobby.

 

It kept me going through my year abroad and stuck with me when I got back home as well. I'm very competitive, particularly with myself, so I'm always looking to try and improve and take a few seconds off my times.

I've always enjoyed running and cycling, but had never regularly done them. Swimming was pretty much new to me when I started triathlon. I had taken swimming lessons as a child, but hadn't swam since then. However, the more I swim, the more I fall in love with it - and now swimming is my favourite of the 3 disciplines.

I became a level 1 coach in late 2019 as I wanted to give something back to the club. I really want to try and give people the same experience I had when starting triathlon - feeling welcome, even though I was completely new and had no idea what I was doing. 

During the days I'm a software developer and I work in Abingdon - just down the road from the leisure centre where we train swimming. In my spare time, I'm a big puzzle guy (jigsaws, crosswords, sudoku... anything). I also enjoy watching films and old episodes of the Simpsons and making myself sad by listening to the music of the National.

Favourite biscuits: Chocolate hobnobs

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 Coach

 

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).

 

Favorite biscuit: Aussie Tim Tams, but in their absence, Phoebe's coconut Anzac biscuits.

 

BTF Level 2 coach,

ASA Level 2 teacher & ASA Level 2 coach

Matt Shepherd

 

BTF Level 2 Coach

Head Coach

I joined the club when I was about 17 and came from a background of football and running at school. I soon fell in love with the world of triathlon and have not looked back. I joined the club to develop my swimming, to which I started in Lane 1 and moved all the way up to Lane 3 with the help of the legendary Coach Ginge. 

I raced for the club for many years (being club champ in 2011ish) before moving to my beloved Swansea University whereby I became an avid member and eventually a committee member at the Triathlon Club. I achieved the dizzying highest of the first Swan home at the British University’s Championships and completing three years of the beer mile. I was also awarded club drunk and personality of the year… I feel I did Uni correctly (with minimal studying and maximal triathlon). 

Since leaving University I have raced in many triathlons from sprint to Half Ironman. Some of the more notably races have been the Helvellyn Triathlon which actually goes up and over the mountain. I have also raced in an epic 8 hour Swim Run race across the Gower Peninsula in Wales and one across Loch Lomand in Scotland. 

I became a level 2 coach to give something back to the club, and to share my knowledge of the sport. What really motivated me to become a coach was when one of my uni friends thanked me for the time I put into helping them improve their triathlon times. Becoming a coach felt like the most natural progression for me. 

I find triathlon has helped me develop as a person so much, I want to share and encourage others to develop in the same way. I also like the club's reputation for its cake and ale consumption… to which I more than uphold at socials. 

Favourite biscuit: Chocolate covered hobnob 
 

Mark Harvey

 

BTF level 2 coach,

Institute of Open Water Swimming coach, Sponsor 

 

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!