Niki Alvarez was named Lynn University’s inaugural head women’s swimming coach and the second head cross country coach on February 7, 2012. Tasked with building two programs at the same time, Alvarez has risen to the challenge and developed two programs on the upswing within not only the Sunshine State Conference but nationally as well.
Only three years in and both programs are thriving. The cross country team saw an individual runner reach the NCAA Tournament for the third consecutive year while the team set records of lowest average and total times. Alvarez also oversaw the growth of Sarah Northup, who improved from the lower levels of the conference to finish sixth individually at the SSC Championship and 12th at the NCAA Regional.
The swimming team reached new heights in 2014-15 as they finished a program-best fifth at the SSC Championship and advanced three swimmers to the national championship where they finished a school-best 16th overall. Alvarez has also been key in the development of Rebecca Matthews, who won the school’s first two individual national championships (100 & 200 breaststroke) and was named the program’s first SSC Swimmer of the Meet and Swimmer of the Year.
Year two under her guidance was a roaring success as the cross country team saw the first runner in program history finish in the top-three of the NCAA Division II South Regional and qualify for the NCAA Division II National Championship. Swimming continued its ascent within the SSC, raking in four individual medals and the first relay medal in program history. Under Alvarez’s guidance, Thalie Carmigniani and Tyne Potgieter also made return trips to the NCAA Division II National Championship where they earned All-America accolades in a combined three races.
Reinstated after an 11-year absence, the cross country program stumbled out of the gates early but finished strong. Lynn had one runner earn All-SSC accolades while also becoming the first student-athlete in program history to compete in the NCAA South Region Tournament, where she placed 12th individually to earn All-South Region recognition.
The upstart swimming program featured a mere six swimmers but, under Alvarez’s leadership and guidance, finished sixth out of seven schools at the SSC Championship, qualified two swimmers for the national championship and placed 26th overall at the NCAA Division II National Tournament.
Lynn’s newest team saw immediate results with an SSC Swimmer of the Week selection following the first week of competition, two swimmers garnering medals at the SSC Championship, one swimmer garnering All-SSC honors and two swimmers picking up All-America selections. To top it off, LU entered the SSC record books with a championship record time in the 100 breast stroke.
Alvarez arrived at Lynn with over 12 years of coaching experience at the collegiate level, where success followed her at every locale. Prior to joining the Blue & White, she spent eight years as Florida Atlantic University’s men’s and women’s assistant swimming coach
In 2006, Alvarez helped the Owls to an appearance at the NCAA Championships. On the women's side, FAU earned two fourth-place finishes, while a member of the men's team advanced to the `B' final of the 100-yard breaststroke. Alvarez was also the head of the men’s and women’s distance program at FAU and in 2006 became the head recruiter from both FAU swim teams.
Prior to Florida Atlantic, Alvarez held the head coaching post at Georgia Southern University from 2002-04. In the first season with Georgia Southern, the team earned a third place finish at the Southern State Championship meet. Guiding the Eagles into the Northeast Conference in 2004, she saw her team finish third at the conference championships and led the Eagles to a winning record in her two seasons at the helm of the program.
Alvarez also spent time as a graduate assistant instructor at Florida State from 2000-01 as well as the head aquatic club swimming coach at Maclay School in Tallahassee.
Alvarez got her first collegiate experience at the College of Charleston where she served as an assistant coach after graduating in 1999. While attending the C of C, she was a team co-captain, a member of the Student-Athlete Advisory Board and co-president for one year.
In addition to Alvarez’s collegiate swimming coaching experience, she brings a plethora of knowledge to Lynn as a four-time USA Triathlon All-American from 2007-10. Alvarez volunteered as the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society Team in Training coach from 2006-07. She also holds a USA Triathlon Level I coaching certification.
Alvarez has a Master’s of Science Degree in Sport Management from Florida State University and a Bachelor’s of Science Degree in Sociology from College of Charleston.