Gillian sanders

Double Olympian

James started coaching me as an age group athlete in 2009 while I was working full time as a lawyer. I started to make remarkable improvements under his guidance and in early 2011 we took on the mammoth task of qualifying for the London Olympics. I began training full time and between James and I, we managed to qualify me for the 2012 Olympic Games in less than 18 months. A feat that I'm certain no other athlete and coach have undertaken. James's technical expertise is astonishing and most of my gains were made as a result of technical aspects that needed working on in swim, bike and run. We continue to strive for perfection and making me the best possible athlete I can be come the Rio 2016 Olympics. 


RORY atkins

U23 Elite

James has been coaching me for 6 years since I started triathlon as a beginner, aged 15. Under his guidance I have continued to progress in each discipline. I started competing in local races before progressing to national standard competitions and now I race at elite level on the European Circuit. James has a real passion and enthusiasm for coaching. He is committed to improving performance from beginner to elite level. He is innovative and unique in his approach. He also has an excellent understanding of the technical demands of each discipline. As a coach and an athlete we are always striving for improvement but we enjoy the process and have fun along the way!


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Ironman Age Grouper

I've loved working with James to address the physical, skill and mental limiters that have been between where I started and where I want to get in Ironman racing. The physical is the sessions we do and why, the skill is stuff you can only get from a coach that's been pool and trackside for years and finally the mental approach is key to both training and racing - when the going gets tough in an Ironman. I've learnt a huge amount in 2 years working with James both qualifying for and having a great debut Kona, and am excited about what the future has in store together.



Ironman (45-49)

I met James in late 2007, with one Kona (scraping a roll-down slot) and one sub-10 hour Ironman to my name, but I really didn’t believe I was capable of going much faster and was thinking of moving on to other challenges. Over the next four years under James’ coaching, I qualified for Hawaii every year (no roll downs needed), made the top 20 twice in Kona, knocked 5 minutes off my swim, 25 minutes off my bike and nearly 20 minutes off my run PBs and achieved my dream goal of completing an ironman in under 9 hours (at the age of 44). I also finished IM Lanzarote in a better time than I’d managed at IM Austria before James. James’ knowledge and expertise as a triathlon coach are a given, but what sets him apart is his ability to adapt to (and learn from) the different personalities and abilities of his athletes. He enables all his athletes to achieve beyond their previous expectations and to dream big. 




Age Grouper

James helped me become a triathlon (age group) world champion. That's a remarkable enough (some would say miraculous) coaching achievement, but to do this with someone roughly twice as old as the others in the team is outstanding. James creates personal and group challenges which help you be the best you can be - the rest is up to you.


Ollie Murphy

Age Grouper

I joined James' Optima set up at the end of 2013 after moving down to London. I was initially hesitant about turning up to the sessions. From the outside James' coaching group looked like a very professional outfit and I was unsure that I was the right caliber of athlete, having only done a handful of triathlons and 10k races. It became clear pretty quickly that I had made a good decision. James maintains a coaching environment in which it is an athlete's attitude rather than their ability that is the most important factor. It didn't take long under James coaching for me to start believing that it might be possible to compete at a higher level than I had considered myself capable.

6 x 5K Run Ironman Training
Week 10 – that was a tough session
— Paul Burton, 2015 (9 x Ironman Finisher)