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 rose to the challenge and developed two programs that received national recognition until she took control solely of the swimming program in the spring of 2016.
During her tenure in the pool, Alvarez quickly made a name for the Fighting Knights swimming program. Since the team’s inception in 2012-13, Lynn has received 22 All-America and 14 Scholar All-America selections, nine All-SSC honorees, two SSC Swimmer of the Year recipients and won three individual NCAA Division II National Championships and 23 Sunshine State Conference Championship medals, including 10 gold medals.
And, the Blue & White have sent at least two swimmers to the NCAA Division II National Championship and recorded at least two All-America recipients every year since Alvarez started the program.
Arguably the best team in school history came in 2015-16 when Lynn finished a program-best fourth place at the SSC Championship, won a team-record seven individual medals, including six gold, and saw Rebecca Matthews become the first swimmer in conference history to repeat as the SSC Swimmer of the Meet. Matthews would also repeat as the SSC Swimmer of the Year while Catalina Berraud-Galea was honored as the program’s first SSC Freshman of the Year.
The 2015-16 squad also sent three swimmers to the national championship and all three came home with All-America accolades.
The swimming team reached new heights in 2014-15 as they finished a then program-best fifth at the SSC Championship and advanced three swimmers to the national championship where they finished a school-best 16th overall. Alvarez was 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.
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, Lynn entered the SSC record books with a championship record time in the 100 breast stroke.
Alvarez was tasked with reinstating the cross country program after an 11-year absence. While the squad stumbled out of the gates early, she was able to train the first cross country student-athlete in school history, Gabriella Wuyke, to reach the NCAA South Region Tournament and later the Division II National Championship, as well as Sarah Northup, who qualified for the NCAA South Regional.
Additionally under Alvarez’s guidance, Wuyke was a two-time SSC All-Championship team selection, First Team All-SSC honoree and All-South Region pick.
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.