Phoenix Tri-MK Coaching Team

We have a coaching team that is second to none, our coaching team are professional, supportive, competent, committed and experienced in all 3 disciplines, from keen amateurs to international athletes we have it covered.

Stephanie Dutton

Lead Coach Level 2 British Triathlon Coach

ASA Swimming Teacher level 3

Sports Psychology  Newcastle University

Alexander Technique Swimming Teacher


Speciality areas

Swimming, Cycling and Running


Hi there!


After qualifying with the ASA (Amateur Swimming Association) in 1976, I took a 12-month course in the year 2000 with Steven Shaw, the founder of applying the principles of The Alexander Technique to swimming. I then went on to specialise in teaching students who are anxious or have a fear of the water. In 2005 I created the Learn to Swim with the Mind/Body Awareness Programme.


The Mind/Body Awareness Programme guides the student in understanding how to work with their fear/anxiety through breath control and developing a mind/body conscious awareness.


I’ve gained a wealth of experience from everyone who I’ve worked with, from clients achieving swimming their first length, to Junior County Swimmers, Channel Swimmers and triathletes.


In 2018 by accident, I stumbled across Stuart Sams, the Club Chairman, who invited me to a club session. I took my two grandchildren to see if they would be interested in learning more about triathlons. After one session the grandchildren were hooked and so was I.


I volunteered my services to teach swimming at the club, which has been a pleasure. It wasn’t long afterwards that I started to study for my Level 2 British Triathlon Coaching, which I passed in May, 2019.


Since I’ve been coaching, my coaching philosophy is at the very heart of everything I believe in. I want every athlete to enjoy their triathlon training, for the athlete to do their best, and reach their ultimate potential while having fun. I take every opportunity to coach and demonstrate teamwork, sportsmanship and respect for everyone on the team.


I believe “Practice makes perfect” and that working on technique consolidates good habits and life-long skills. I learn as much from the athletes as they do from me.


“Don’t worry that children never listen to you; worry that they are always watching you.”

Debbie Vanner

Level 1 British Triathlon Coach


Speciality Areas

Cycling and Running


Hi everyone, 


My name is Debbie Vanner, I am 53 years old, I work with Porridge and Crips all day? and the rest of the time I am on my bike, in the pool, running or at the gym.


I have a long history in sport, I was a regional Netball player, County swimmer, Aerobic and Fitness Instructor, Cycling Time Trials and now Triathlon, of which I now have 12 Ironman Events and a Double Ironman under my belt, looking forward to the 13th as I have unfinished business in Switzerland this year!


The highlight of this year, so far, is qualifying for the Ironman 70.3 World Championships in September in Nice


I am a qualified Ride Leader through the Sky Ride Leader Programme which was and still is, with BCG, a great opportunity to share my knowledge and experience and meet cyclists of varying abilities to hopefully help and guide members forward.


I also have my Level 1 Triathlon Coaching thanks to Phoenix Tri Club and am very happy to assist in the coaching at the Club.


I feel that with my experience I can offer differing levels of help within the Club, the most important element is helping everyone enjoy swimming, cycling and running, making them feel involved as well as encouraging them to progress.





Carly Dutton

Level 1 British Triathlon Coach


Speciality Areas

Running and Cycling


My name is Carly and I am mum to two of the children that attend the club.


Late last year I was given the opportunity to train as a coach for the club, and qualified as a level 1 coach back in February. I also have shared responsibility for the safeguarding of our members.


Whilst not a triathlete myself (yet!), I do enjoy sport and fitness including running, mountain biking and all things gym and fitness related. I was lucky enough to get a place in the 2018 Virgin London Marathon, and whilst running has taken a backseat since then, this is where I feel my expertise lies.


I believe that everyone should have the opportunity to take part in sport, which is why I love this club. All kids are encouraged to take part and do their best and there is a real feeling of family. At the events there is no pressure to compete if you don’t want to, but if you do you'll get the support of the whole club! 


The sessions are structured, but also FUN!


Position/occupational title


Speciality areas

Speciality 1, Speciality 2


Crispin Watkins

Club Co-Founder \Club Secretary \ Club Treasurer \ Vice Chair Leighton Buzzard Swimming Club

British Triathlon Level 1 Coach


Speciality areas



As the other co-founder of Phoenix Tri-MK, I came into the exhilarating sport of Triathlon by accident.  


Both of my sons are very keen swimmers but wanted to try something different for which their swimming talents could be utilised, a sport that offered a pathway from swimming.  


Triathlon appeared to fit the bill and so a club was joined.


That club as it transpired failed to have the ethos, I wanted my sons to follow. Consequently, Stuart and I stupidly thought we could do better !!


Initially it was nothing more than just banter, but two years later, Bronze Accreditation achieved from BTF, 4 volunteers trained to BTF Level 1 Coach and a further volunteer achieving BTF Level 2, and sponsorship from a talisman name, such as Trek, has meant we have travelled very far from our humble beginnings.  


Of course, we have not done this alone, the support and input from volunteers, coaches, members and most importantly our members parents have brought the club to where it is today.


Naturally from my background, I am biased and out of the trilogy of Swim, Bike, Run, the swim element is my area of interest.  But as you can see from my piccie, I’d be lying if I said I was, or had any specific desire to be a sportsman, though I did complete my first Novice Triathlon in 2019 !!


My focus however is on and for our members, and to ensure they get as much enjoyment out of the sport as they can, whether they wish to compete or to just train with us, but for me as the area of most importance is the camaraderie, the team spirit, the fun with your mates which is fundamental to our success, ensuring the club is where members want to come not dragged to attend and not just to train and learn (which of course they do !!) but to be with their mates..


Our ethos, tag line, mission statement, whatever you want to call it, is our mantra, and that is Phoenix Tri-MK is about Finish Lines and not Finish Times… 

Stuart Sams

Chairman / Co-Founder

British Triathlon Level 1 Coach


Speciality areas

Cycling, Transition


I am proud to be co-founder and chairman of this amazing club.

Most of the work that goes on behind the scenes to make the club run smoothly is completed by our amazing committee, coaches and volunteers and it's my honour to lead these inspirational individuals.


I have competed in competitive sports for 30 years including rugby union and a keen cyclist for 35 years. In 2017 I started to race triathlons with several top 3 age group finishes to my name.


Cycling is my field of expertise and I take great pride in conditioning our athletes to be race ready for this discipline.


Time saved in transition can be the difference between 1st and 10th place. My job is to ensure nothing is left to chance.

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