MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. (April 28, 2020) – Christian and Alexandra Perez, a pair of siblings from Miami, Fla., have reunited, as the brother and sister were both the first official commitments to the Men’s and Women’s Swimming & Diving program at St. Thomas University (STU).
The STU Swimming & Diving program was announced in October 2019. The announcement made St. Thomas the second NAIA institution in Florida to add swimming and diving, joining Keiser University and the eleventh in the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics to have the programs.
Keith Coghlan became the first coach in program history at St. Thomas when he was hired to begin the program in February 2020, and immediately seeking to add talent to turn Bobcat Swimming & Diving into a national powerhouse. Coghlan came to STU after four seasons at Keiser, where he helped establish the program and guided the team to multiple NAIA National Championships. His experience in building power programs made the pairing at St. Thomas a perfect fit.
Upon his hiring, Coghlan said, “I am excited to start the program at St. Thomas. There are so many swimming programs in South Florida; the potential to recruit excellent student-athletes will help us build a successful program in the pool.”
In the early stages of recruiting and gathering commitments to the program, Coghlan identified a pair of swimmers from the South Florida community to start both the Men’s and Women’s Swimming & Diving teams at STU. The first two signees to the programs were siblings, Christian and Alexandra Perez.
“I couldn’t be more excited to welcome the Perez siblings as part of our inaugural team. Establishing the right culture is crucial and they will be important in starting the program the right way,” added Coghlan.
Christian (18) and Alexandra (19) swam together at Miami Palmetto Senior High School before Alexandra began her collegiate career at Indian River State College.
Christian is an incoming freshman, who enjoyed a prolific high school career. During his time at Miami Palmetto, Christian led the Panthers to regionals in both his freshman and sophomore years. Additionally, Perez and the Panthers advanced to states in 2018 and 2019.
Alexandra, before committing to St. Thomas, guided the Indian River Program to consecutive NJCAA titles, finishing in eighth place in both the 200-meter backstroke and 1,000m freestyle.
The siblings are excited to reunite in the pool once again, this time leading the St. Thomas University Swimming & Diving program into the inaugural season.
Christian said, “I’m thrilled to be able to swim with Alex for my collegiate career. It’s been a while since I’ve swam and competed with her, I’m looking forward to it. Alexandra is the most dedicated and positive person I know on the deck, always finding a way to push herself and lead the team to achieve our goals. I’m very proud to call her my teammate again and can’t wait to get into the pool.”
Alexandra added, “ever since we were kids, my brother and I have been inseparable, to the point where people thought we were twins. Christian has been my biggest supporter for as long as I can remember. Starting the programs at St. Thomas University is another challenge that we can take on together; I’m excited to see what this season hold.”
Alexandra, in addition to being the first woman commitment to STU Swimming & Diving, is also the first transfer swimmer to the Swimming & Diving program.
The Perez siblings both intend to pursue degrees in Biology, upon enrollment at St. Thomas University.
St. Thomas University Swimming & Diving, entering its’ inaugural season in the pool, and is set to compete in the Sun Coast Conference.