Your Support Team

We are dedicated to helping develop our athletes and challenging them to pursue excellence in all facets of their daily life. Not just full of knowledge and brains, this group of fun-loving individuals realizes that life is meant to be enjoyed and that sports are part of that enjoyment.

 
Coach Mark Saroni

Mark Saroni

Head Coach, Founder, CEO

  • MS Kinesiology

  • USA Triathlon Level 2

  • USA Swimming Level 2

  • USA Cycling Level 3

"Winning is a Mindset, Not a Spot on the Podium"

Coaching Highlights

  • Coached athletes to qualify for World Championships at Ironman, Ironman 70.3, Xterra, and ITU Age Group Worlds.

  • Multiple Senior Games National and State Champions in Cycling and Track & Field

  • San Antonio Express News "Girls Swim Coach of the Year"

  • 2x TAPPS State Swimming Team Champions

Mark Saroni is an accomplished endurance athlete and the founder and Head Coach of Paragon Training. Saroni has been involved in triathlon since 2003 and has been coaching fellow athletes toward their goals for nearly as long. Saroni's unique coaching style and knowledge is built on his educational background, as well as years of experience racing in the endurance world. He attended The University of Texas at Tyler where he graduated with a Bachelors's and Master's degree in Kinesiology, while also competing as a Division III Track and Cross Country athlete. After college, he moved to San Antonio to train and race as a professional triathlete. He began full-time coaching at the same time and soon realized that his greater passion was in taking the knowledge he'd gained on the race course and in the classroom to assist others in achieving their goals. He "retired" from a professional career to dedicate his time and energy to developing athletes. Whether it's one-on-one coaching, group workouts, consulting, or through pre-built training plans, it is Saroni's mission to provide resources for endurance athletes that help them in their own pursuit of excellence.

Racing Highlights

  • 2021 Ironman Waco Overall Champion

  • 2019 Ironman 70.3 Waco Overall Champion

  • 2019 Ironman 70.3 Lubbock Overall Champion

  • 2018 Ironman 70.3 Buffalo Springs Lake Champion

  • 2017 Ironman Coeur d'Alene Overall Champion

  • 2017 Ironman 70.3 Buffalo Springs Lake Overall Champion

  • 2017 Cat 3 Texas State Time Trial Champion

  • Professional Triathlete 2012-2015

  • 3x Kona Qualifier

  • 7-Time USA Triathlon All American 

 

Amy Higginbotham

Triathlon Coach

  • BS, emphasis Health Science and Exercise Science

  • USAT Level I Coach

Coaching Achievements

  • Ironman 70.3 World Championship Qualifier

  • 2xs 70.3 1st place AG

  • Marathon 1st place AG

  • ½ Marathon 1st place AG

  • Ironman Top 10% Finisher

  • Multiple 1st triathlon finishers (the eldest being 68 upon completion)

Amy has a BS from Columbus State University with an emphasis in Health Science and Exercise Science. Before finding running and triathlon, Amy worked in group fitness and corporate fitness with organizations such as AT&T. Amy transitioned to a management career until the birth of her son. Since then, she has worked as a strength coach and cycle instructor for more than 5 years. Seeing people in her classes transform through hard work and effort, Amy’s passion for coaching and triathlon continued to grow as she became a certified USAT Level I triathlon coach. Amy approaches all things with genuine enthusiasm and energy and works tirelessly to help athletes achieve their own individual goals and personal successes.

As a military spouse and mom, Amy fully understands the demands placed on athletes in their daily lives.  Amy works hard to balance sport and life and integrates that mindset into her training.  Amy channels her 12+ years of triathlon and running experience into each of the athletes she has the privilege to work with.

Racing Highlights

  • Ironman 70.3 World Championship 2021

  • Ironman AWA (bronze) 2018

  • 3x Ironman Finisher (1st was 14 months after having her son at 42)

  • 15X 70.3 finisher

  • Multiple AG podium finishes including 2nd place AG Deep South 70.3

 

Krista Neugebauer

Registered Dietitian Nutritionist

  • BS Nutrition and Foods

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Racing Highlights

  • 2019 Kerrville 70.3 – 1st AG

  • 2018 Coco Half Marathon - 3rd AG

  • 2017 Octoberfest Sprint - 1st AG

  • 2016 Tour De Gruene Team Time Trial - 2nd Overall

  • 2015 Marble Falls 70.3 – 1st AG

  • 2015 Octoberfest Sprint - 3rd AG

Krista is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and athlete. She graduated from Texas State University, with a Bachelor’s degree in Nutrition and Foods and completed her Dietetic Internship through the University of Houston in 2014.  Over the years, she has worked with athletes as well as individuals struggling with various medical diagnoses. Her passion is working with athletes to help fine tune nutritional needs so they can excel at the sport they love. 

 

Ever since Krista was a little girl, she loved running and sports. In college, she realized how much joy she felt when running and began racing. She completed her first marathon, the Nike Women’s Marathon in 2012, and her first triathlon, Texas State Sprint Triathlon in 2014. The challenge of completing a full Ironman was the pinnacle of dedication, sacrifice, and hard work, which became her new athletic challenge. In 2016, she completed Ironman Texas and 2017, Ironman Chattanooga. Her racing slowed from 2018-2020 with the birth of her two sons, but she is excited to competitively race again. 

 

Racing various distances and applying nutritional knowledge has helped her experience the importance of nutrition and how the duration and intensity can impact nutritional needs. Whether you are a novice or avid athlete, she is qualified through education and experience to help you reach your goals.

 
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Alli Saroni

Director of Operations

  • PhD Anthropology

Racing Highlights

  • 2022 3rd Overall CapTex

  • 2021 3rd AG IRONMAN Arizona

  • 2021 Kerrville Quarter Champion

  • 2017 IM 70.3 World Championship

  • 2017 18th USAT Collegiate Nationals

  • 2014 IRONMAN World Championship

Alli has been competing in triathlon since she was 13 years old growing up in Iowa. She did sprint triathlons for the first 5 years, and they were a great complement to cross country and track in high school. She took a big step into longer-distance endeavors when she biked across the country, Canada to Mexico, starting the day following high school graduation. That was her first up-close experience in Texas and all the heat and sunshine the state had to offer (along with the hugeness of Texas—half of the days riding across the country were spent getting across Texas).

Ultimately, grad school brought her back to Texas in 2015 and she joined the UTSA Tri Club, where she met Mark Saroni and went back to trying to get faster rather than go longer. A big highlight was placing in the Top 20 at USAT Collegiate Club Nationals for the Olympic. 

 

Annie Schawe

Assistant Swim Coach, Admin Assistant

  • BS Environmental Science

Annie Schawe has been involved in swimming for almost 20 years, whether it was summer league, club swim, high school swimming, or coaching swimming. In college, she wanted to branch out a bit without abandoning her signature sport, so she joined the UTSA Triathlon Club. She stuck with the club throughout her college experience, but decided that she wanted to stick with sports that were not on land. She coached the Paragon Homeschool swim team during and a little after college. After she graduated with a Bachelor’s in Environmental Science, she received a U.S. Masters Swimming Nationals time cut in the mile swim. Annie moved to the great Midwest and worked a season as a Park Ranger for the National Park Service, and now she is back and ready to help athletes on their pursuit of excellence!

 
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Caleb Manifold
Assistant Swim Coach
  • Tactical First Aid/CPR/AED

Caleb Manifold is entering his senior year of high school as a dual credit student at Northwest Vista College. Caleb has been swimming with Paragon Training's homeschool swim team for the past 6 years. He currently holds the team record for the 17&18 men’s 100 FLY and plans to swim throughout college. Caleb has teaching experience during his tenure of being a Black belt Juinor Instructor at Tae Kwon Do.

 

Personal Records:

  • 50 Y FR 22.77

  • 100 Y FR 49.64

  • 100 Y FLY 54.37

  • 100 Y BK 57.87

  • 200 Y BK 2:07.99

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Christian Larsen
Assistant Swim Coach

Education

  • Biola University - studying Film & TV

  • San Antonio Christian High School

 

My name is Christian Larsen. I started swimming when I was a freshman at San Antonio Christian High School (SACS) and fell in love with it. I swam all 4 years in my high school career and helped bring home the State Championship in 2019, senior year. Personally, I finished 3rd in the 50 freestyle and 2nd in the 100 freestyle. I wanted to continue swimming in college and found Biola University. At the time of writing this, I will be a sophomore at Biola University. I am studying Cinema & Media Arts, which are fancy terms for Film & TV. I am also on the swim team as well. Biola is a NCAA Division 2 team in the Pacific West Conference. 

 

The St. Patrick's Sprint Triathlon was my first triathlon. After swimming with Coach Mark Saroni he told me about these things called “triathlons” that consisted of swimming, cycling, and running. I decided to try one out and ended up loving it. I placed top 100 out of 700 people, and placed 7th in my age group. In 2019, I raced in the Kerrville Triathlon (Olympic distance) and placed top 3 in my age group.  

 

Highlights

  • NCAA Division 2 swimmer

  • Won TAPPS State Championship 2019

  • Placed 2nd & 3rd in individual events in TAPPS State Championship 2019

  • Placed top 3 in age group at Kerville Triathlon 2019