Meet Our Coaches
Ellen's passion for swimming began at the age of thirteen with her local Willow Creek I swim team, and it hasn't slowed since. After competing at Cherry Creek High School and captaining the CU Boulder Swim and Dive Club, she founded the USMS program at CAC Inverness in 1986. Following a move to Hawaii, she became the Athletic Director of the Honolulu Club and helped found one of the island's first triathlon clubs in 1995. While in Hawaii, Ellen competed in several open water races and sprint distance triathlons.
In 1998, Ellen returned to Colorado as a general manager and started the Triathlon Training Team at CAC Aurora, where she built a culture around training first-time triathletes. After having her first child, Ellen returned to CAC Inverness to grow her triathlon program and continue master's coaching and competition. Ellen is passionate about working with people of all ages to develop, pursue, train for, and achieve their athletic goals.
Ellen has earned multiple national medals in the 50m, 100m, and 200m breaststroke events. She is a current USMS All-American in the 200m breaststroke and competes every year.
Outside of the water, Ellen’s hobbies include cycling, hiking, skiing, photography, and raising her 3 boys.
I have been an athlete my entire life in one way or another. I love being outside and being active! I began my coaching career in 2000 as a marathon and triathlon coach for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s Team in Training program (TNT). I have completed coaching certifications with USA Triathlon, Ironman, and Slowtwitch and am a swim coach at SwimLabs where I do swim stroke video analysis and coaching. While I’ve always been an athlete, I did not grow up swimming, cycling, or running. So, I’ve worked hard in the last 20 years to help others learn skills in these sports, especially when the sports are so new to them as adults. I love watching women gain self-confidence through triathlon. It’s so important for women to have a safe place to work to achieve personal goals and accomplish things they’ve never dreamed of. CWW is that perfect place! I’ve completed Ultra520K Canada, five Ironman races, 16 half Ironman races, 13 marathons, many trail races up to 50k, and too many shorter triathlons and road races to count. So many learning experiences throughout the years! I am married and have two girls who are active in soccer and cross country. I hope to teach my girls that they can do ANYTHING! We all can!
On November 14, 2017, I was diagnosed with breast cancer. While I had done triathlons and marathons several years ago, I was now sixty pounds overweight and a physical mess. After my treatment was complete, I decided it was time to get back to a healthy lifestyle. I was a swimmer in high school and college and coached swimming for a few years. (Still, I hyperventilated when I saw a fish during my first open water swim!) My first triathlon was Irongirl Syracuse. I was hooked! I am a four-time 70.3 finisher and am registered for Ironman Lake Placid in 2020. I have also completed numerous half and full marathons as well as a few 5k open water swims. I am a fundraiser by profession but always wanted to get back to coaching. I am now a USAT Certified Level 1 coach and so very excited to have the opportunity to be a part of CWW and your finish line journey!
If you had told me 6 years ago that I would be participating in triathlons, I would have laughed in your face. Then I would have called the local mental institution to have you committed. In my youth, I never liked exercise. Ever. It was hard and sweaty and I didn’t like it. I coasted through life, being young and fabulous but not super active. In 2011, a very traumatic life event inspired me to start exercising regularly to lose the extra 40 pounds I was carrying around. After a year, the endorphins of my mild elliptical workouts became necessary for life. I wasn’t doing anything particularly challenging, but I needed those endorphins.
When I was 29, I was diagnosed with stage 3 breast cancer. I did my obligatory years of treatment and reconstruction, but this is not my sob story. I don’t see the cancer as this terrible, horrible thing that happened to me (don’t get me wrong...it was AWFUL). But it was my springboard into outdoor activity, healthy living, competition, and adventure! Since cancer, if a crazy opportunity presents itself, I take it. And that is how I found triathlons… I signed up to train with CWW without the ability to swim a stroke, incapable of running 3 miles, and having a terrible fear of open water. It was awesome and now I’m hooked. I love watching my body get stronger and accomplish things I never would have imagined.
I’ll be at as many practices as my schedule of child wrangling and cramming for college exams allows. Look for me! I promise I’m good for a funny comment and some dry humor. Just because it’s hard doesn’t mean we can’t laugh about it and have fun!
I was not allowed to be an athlete when I was child or a young woman. I did not do school sports. So when I see you bravely head toward that first buoy at the pond on your virgin voyage through cold, dark, murky water, I am redeemed for all the times I dared not try something new, something hard, because I was not allowed to.
When I was a young woman I was expected to find a man to marry who would take care of me implying that I could never take care of myself. I went to college first, then got married and had my children. I started triathlon to soothe my soul with a busy husband building his business empire and three wacky middle school-aged children.
At my first Masters swim clinic I was laughed at. I was left behind within the first block of my first group ride, pedaling furiously on my girlie bike complete with a basket. Undaunted, I continued to train and in my first race, won the female 35 and older category. I was 43 at the time and there were no official age groups.
I have pretty much done it all now; 11 marathons, four Ironman triathlons, the Race Across America (RAAM) three times, the Race Across the West (RAW) and too many sprint and Olympic triathlons to count. My dearly departed friend, fellow triathlete Judy Flannery, inspired me to create Team CWW for all the women who want to try something new, something hard. On the day I lost my friend Judy April 2nd 1997, Team CWW was born. It has been a privilege to help women of all ages and abilities and all walks of life dare to try new things, push their boundaries and be more than they dreamed possible.
I am blessed with wonderful children and grandchildren, a semi-retired husband and Henry the wonder dog. Because I am a life-long learner I have recently earned a PhD in Biblical Interpretation.
Education & Certifications
USAT Level 2 Coach
USAT Board Member
USOC Level 2 Race Director
Level One Coach Stacey Bankston
I have been racing triathlon for the past 2 years and have fallen in love with the camaraderie, adventure, and spirit of team CWW. Coming from a non-athletic background, this was a bit of a leap for me but it has been a lot of fun and I have learned more about myself and that I am a lot stronger than I think! I do not race for the glory or the podium but rather to achieve goals I never thought were possible and to meet people I would not have known in any other capacity. Last summer I was able to obtain my biggest goal to date - to complete an Olympic distance triathlon!!
This journey has given me the opportunity help other women see the potential they have below the surface and to enjoy the process which leads to an unbelievable achievement. To cross the finish line of your dreams! You will find me at most practices with a smile on my face and a few encouraging comments. Be sure to say hello!
Level One Coach Michele "Mac 'n' Cheese Robinson
Michelle (aka Mac N Cheese) Robinson is our favorite PA on the team. Mac N Cheese joined CWW as a way to curb her MNC addiction and found that she actually loved to workout and RACE. Although she misses her late-night snack, she has found a suitable replacement - US! You will often find Michelle at the water's edge wondering what we all wonder "can I swim that far?" The answer is YES! Michelle has fantastic coaching abilities and is a friend to all who are hesitant or uncertain. She has an impressive race resumé but her specialty is getting timid athletes out the door and on the way to discovering a new addiction. Look out Mac N Cheese, here comes the team!
Level One Coach Joy Carreno
Joy brings joy, 'nuff said. Always with a smile and a kind word, Joy is the perfect level one coach. She is able to encourage and support our athletes coming from a place of positivity and caring. Joy is a life survivor. Having battled cancer twice, she understands the desire to push living to the max. Joy is a seasoned triathlete and has just discovered the joy (haha) of riding a road bike made in heaven, also how to pump her own tires! Joy is enthusiastic and loves to share her knowledge about sport, life, and just plain having fun! She is also really great at crying tears of JOY!!
Level One Coach Becky "Big Ring" Robinson
Becky (aka Big Ring) Robinson is not only an accomplished triathlete but is also known for her operatic singing. If you can't find Becky swimming, biking, or running you will find her at one of her many gigs around the country. If you want a musical accompaniment to your workout, just ask Big Ring for a tune or two. Taking her fame in stride, Becky has really stretched her athletic potential with the team and is looking forward to coaching others to her special kind of nirvana. If you want to find out what makes Big Ring, Big Ring - come and ask!