MEET OUR COACHES

At E3 Tri, our coaches have a diverse background in athletics, yet have the same passion to help others achieve their specific goals no matter where their fitness level stands. Contact us and we will pair you with one of our coaches that will best fit your goals, needs, and schedules. 

AARON WHITLEY
Kingsport, TN

Aaron Whitley is the owner and head coach of E3 TRI. 15 years ago he would have never dreamed of that first sentence in his bio but while searching for a better version of himself and a healthier lifestyle he found endurance sports. Aaron began his endurance athletic career in 2010 with marathon training where he completed 3 marathons. He then was introduced to triathlon in 2012. While training to complete triathlons of various distances, he fell in love with the sport of triathlon. Over the next couple of years, Aaron competed in distances from Sprint to Ironman. While coaching, Aaron discovered his true passion of helping others achieve what once seemed impossible.

 

Aaron loves working with athletes of all experience levels, from the basic beginner to the seasoned athlete, and helping them reach their milestones and achieve goals within endurance sports. He believes in a true work/sport/life balance in his personalized training plans and believes you can achieve what you set your mind to. This is his true passion in life and would love to talk with you about your goals and turning what you might currently see as impossible into Possible. 


-Ironman U Certified Coach
-2x Ironman Finisher
-12x 70.3 Finisher 
-2x Silver All World Athlete
-2x USAT National Championship Qualifier 

TRENT SUTHERLAND
Greenville, NC
Trent comes to triathlon from a mid-life running background. He was not in competitive sports prior to his mid-30s when he decided enough was enough with the fat pants. After 10 years of running distances up to marathons he decided to take up triathlons by signing up for an Ironman. The looming question was how to accomplish this new goal. Trent had to learn how to swim beyond standard childhood swim lessons, ride a bike farther and faster than for a beer at the beach and then run a marathon while feeling like he had several beers at the beach. He has been an E3TRI athlete since that first season. Trent believes in the journey and the community of triathlons. He has competed in and successfully finished Olympic, 70.3 and 140.6 triathlons. Trent approaches triathlons as part of his life not something to set life aside for. He believes that goals can be obtained through knowledge, training and perseverance. If you want the goal of completing a triathlon to be a part of your life, Trent can help guide you to your goal.
- Ironman U Certified Coach
- 2x All World Athlete
- 2x Ironman Finisher
- 10x Ironman 70.3 Finisher
- 13x 10-miler
- 4x Full Marathon
- 10x Half Marathon
RACHEL CRAFT
Greenville, NC
If you are looking for help and support, Rachel’s triathlon journey may not be that different from yours. She was not a childhood athlete, warmed the bench for a few middle school attempts at sports, and the only collegiate level sports in which she participated were bar-hopping and all nighters. After grad school, Rachel found herself overweight, unhappy, and in a job she only mildly tolerated. Looking for something to get herself together, she joined a local gym and started taking baby steps towards getting somewhere that she wanted to be. Fast forward through the years as Rachel reached various goals and milestones: 5k, 10k, 13.1, 26.2. During this time, Rachel learned the value of respecting one’s body, setting lofty goals and reaching them, the importance of being brave, and that the support and expertise of others who have gone before is mission critical.

Rachel was introduced to triathlon in 2016 and began her life-changing journey with her E3 coach Aaron Whitley. Rachel has since achieved many of her triathlon goals including several 1st place age-group sprints, 2018 USAT National Championships, 2019 IM All World Athlete Bronze. Through Rachel’s journey she also discovered just how much she loves helping others reach and crush their goals - whether it is a finish line or a finish time. She is an IRONMAN Certified Coach who believes in her athletes and loves working with them on an individualized, personal level to
make their vision a reality.
- Ironman U Certified Coach​
- USAT National Championship qualifier
- Bronze All World Athlete
- Multiple 1st place age-group races
KELLY ESSLER
Bourbonnais, IL

Kelly graduated from Milligan College with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing in 2014 and worked as a Medical/Surgical as well as ICU and PCU nurse. She later made a career change to collegiate swimming coaching. She was the assistant coach at Milligan College for one year. She then took over as Head men and women’s swimming coach at Milligan for the next three seasons. Kelly is now the Head Men and Women’s Swim Coach at Olivet Nazarene Univeristy in Bourbonnais, IL.

 

Kelly has obtained numerous certifications:

- USA Swimming and American Swimming Coaches Association Level 1 Certified Coach

- USA Swimming Coaches Member

- Served as Vice President for NAIA Swimming (2018-2019)

- Served as Secretary for NAIA Swimming (2017-2018)

Kelly has coached at multiple large Division 1 swim camps: Texas A&M University Swim Camp (2019), University of Tennessee Swim Camp (2019, 2018), and Texas Longhorn Swim Camp (2017).


At the 2019-2020 NAIA National Championship her team obtained:
- 2 National Titles: Karla Islas (400 IM, 1650 Freestyle)
- 12 Top-8 Finishes
- 13 Top 11-16 Finishes
- 14 All-Americans
- Fourth-place overall finish for Women's team

As an athlete Kelly has many achievements:

- Age-group Sprint World Championships Qualifier

- Half Ironman finisher

- 3x ultra-marathon finisher

- 1st Place Women’s B Conference in Cyclocross

- 5x school record holder at Milligan College 

- 9th in Conference Tournament in 100 and 200 Breastroke

- Nevada State Champion in the 200 Medley Relay

CARISSA CHAMBERS GARLAND
Johnson City, TN

Carissa has always believed in the importance of an active lifestyle and making health a priority. From soccer, track & field, and cross-country in middle and high school, to intramural sports all throughout college, she has always loved to challenge herself to reach new goals. After finishing optometry school in 2015, she began her triathlon journey by training for a local sprint and was hooked. She loved how triathlon could be a lifelong sport with the variety of workouts, cross training, and incredible people she met along the way.

Since then, she has finished triathlons up to the full IRONMAN 140.6 distance, while also pursuing her passion for trail ultrarunning in the off season. Her focus in coaching is to allow training and racing to fit into an athlete’s already busy lifestyle. She understands that everyone comes from a unique background, and she enjoys working towards each person’s individualized goals.

In addition to coaching, Carissa is a partner in an optometric private practice, which gives her a realistic understanding of the challenges that athletes face in achieving a work, life, family, & training balance. If you’re ready to embark on this rewarding journey, Carissa is ready to customize a plan to help you reach your goals.

- IRONMAN U Certified Coach

- Board Member for the State of Franklin Track Club (2019 - present)
- 140.6 distance finisher
- 70.3 distance finisher x 4
- 50 mile trail ultramarathon finisher
- ITU Duathlon Standard Distance World Championship Qualifier
- Bronze IRONMAN 70.3 All World Athlete


- Bachelor of Science (B.S.) in Nutrition from University of Tennessee
- Doctor of Optometry (O.D.) from Southern College of Optometry

PERSONALIZED COACHING - RACE NUTRITION - TRAINING CAMPS - ACCOUNTABILITY - UNLIMITED COMMUNICATION - CUSTOM TRAINING PLANS

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