James' love of sport began at a very young age, spending his youth (11-22 years) boxing, where he picked up several representative honours & titles.

Formative years

His ambition was always to join the armed forces where he found his love of teaching physical training.  Between 1992 and 1994 James embarked on training courses to become a physical training instructor (PTI L3 & L2).

He left the armed forces in 1994 to further his education and self-development. Shortly after he discovered a sport that required a similar level of psychological strength to boxing ... with some new skills thrown in! He started triathlon as a pure novice (could not even swim!) in 1995 with Thames Turbo. Two years later James moved to Australia to learn more about the new sport he had fallen in love with. On his return to the UK he was selected to represent GB at the World Triathlon Championships (AG) in Canada in 1999.


In 2000, he founded Optima Racing Team; his aim being to coach a group of like-minded individuals within a team environment. This vision has been realised having coached age group (Including World Champion Chris Owens (60-64)), elite and junior elite triathletes to medal at World, European and Ironman competitions.

Olympic Games

In 2012 James coached his first triathlete, Gillian Sanders to the Olympic Games, in only 18 months from her career as a full time lawyer. James has gone on to help Gillian to a silver medal at the Commonwealth Games 2014, top 5 in WTS Yokohama in 2015, her 2nd Olympic Games in Rio 2016 and Commonwealth Games in Australia 2018.  


James has also helped a number of juniors including Sophia Saller, Luke Penney & Anthony Haynes race at the highest level in Europe, with Luke managing a junior European medal.  In 2018 James helped 3 Optima Racing Team junior girls become selected for the English talent programme; Freya Thomson (A squad), Alice Patterson & Izzy Atkins (B squad).  Both Freya & Izzy then went on to be selected for a Youth Olympic Games qualification race in Banyoles Spain.


When it comes to going long and competing in Ironman, James is one of the UK's leading coaches.  He has helped Tim Bishop go sub 9hrs (45 - 49) and both he and Paul Burton have enjoyed numerous trips to Kona.  James has also helped a number female athletes, Stephanie MacLean, Edwina Sutton and Karen Axelsdottir (sub 9hrs 30) also compete at the Ironman World Championships.

In 2008 James helped British Triathlon set up the London Regional Academy and is still currently the head coach and enjoying helping youngsters across London develop their triathlon skills, engine and mindset.

James has been coaching triathlon now since 1998 and has made coaching his vocation.  Find out more about his coaching philosophy here

His main long-term goal being...

“To be 80 years old with grey hair, coaching happy athletes!”

Wealth of Experience

What experience do I bring to triathlon coaching?

  • Boxing & Boxing coaches
  • Physical training instructor (Army)
  • Endurance, discipline and drive to keep going under adversity whilst serving in the military
  • Being a complete novice at swim and bike when I started triathlon in 1996 and mastering each discipline
  • BTF coaching courses (1 - 2 - 3)
  • Competing at European and World level in triathlon (AG), along with 10 x Ironman races (including going sub 10hrs) and also a visit to the Big Island of Kona to race in the IM World Championships in 2016!
  • A master’s degree in sports science
  • On-going CPD with BTF courses/ reading & working with other coaches
  • Coaching triathlon to all abilities since 1998
  • Coaching an elite athlete from age grouper to the Olympic Games in 18 months & Commonwealth Games medal

James's experience, continued results across age-groupers, elite juniors and elite seniors positions James as one of the UK’s leading high performance triathlon coaches.