Skip to main content

If there's one moment we love as much as the SI Swimsuit cover reveal, it's the announcement of the SI Swim Search winners. And this year is no different. The annual search brought forth an incredible group of women that was hard to narrow down again. Thirteen finalists were picked and participated in a week-long photo shoot in Atlantic City this past spring. After much deliberation, two winners have been chosen.

(Drum roll, please.)

Katie Austin and Christen Harper are the winners of the 2021 Swim Search and will be rookies in the 2022 Swimsuit Issue!

Katie Austin was photographed by Yu Tsai in Atlantic City, N.J. Swimsuit by Seven Swim.

Katie Austin was photographed by Yu Tsai in Atlantic City, N.J. Swimsuit by Seven Swim.

Scroll to Continue

More from SwimLife

Christen Harper was photographed by Yu Tsai in Atlantic City, N.J. Swimsuit by Seven Swim.

Christen Harper was photographed by Yu Tsai in Atlantic City, N.J. Swimsuit by Seven Swim.

Swim Search is SI Swimsuit's annual open casting call, providing opportunities for both aspiring and established models to meet with the SI Swimsuit team in hopes of being featured to contribute to the franchise. Historically Swim Search has been conducted in-person, but due to COVID-19, the team transitioned to virtual casting accepting entries exclusively digitally. To enter, applicants submitted a photo and a 60-second video of themselves describing why they felt they would be a great addition to the franchise.

SI Swim received thousands of entries and ultimately chose 13 incredibly empowering women who advanced to the next round. The Swim Search finalists included athletes, models, entrepreneurs, students, moms and more. Each woman was selected not only for her year-long commitment to the Swim Search process but also for her alignment with the brand's mission and values.

“We are excited to announce this year's Swim Search winners are Katie Austin and Christen Harper,” says MJ Day. After a year and a half long dedication to the Swim Search process, the two standouts will be named the first Rookies of the 2022 issue. Katie and Christen's professionalism and potential represent the ethos of the SI Swimsuit brand. They have fully embraced the brand's mission to support one another and Swim Search community with respect and enthusiasm all while aspiring to be something greater than themselves. We cannot wait to see what the future holds for them.”

Let's meet the first two women who’ll appear in the 2022 Swimsuit Issue now:

Christen Harper

Hometown: Valencia, Calif.

“I decided to apply for SI Swim Search because being a part of Sports Illustrated had always been my ultimate dream. Every year I would ask my agents to try to get me a casting with SI and I never quite made it there. I realized that life is too short to wait around for opportunities to come to you. I decided to take my dreams into my own hands and go after what I have wanted for my whole life and it was the best decision I ever made!”

What does it mean to you to be picked as a Rookie?

“To be named a Rookie for Sports Illustrated Swimsuit is more than an honor to me. Being in the same conversation as the icons that have graced the pages of SI for decades is truly surreal. I have looked up to the women of SI for my entire life, seeing bold, smart, beautiful women with unique stories at a young age is what gave me confidence to not only walk through life but also to pursue a career in modeling. This is truly a full circle moment for me — had I never opened up an issue of Sports Illustrated Swim 13 years ago I don't know if I would be the same woman I am today.”

Instagram: @christenharper

Katie Austin

Hometown: Alexandria, Va.

“As an athlete my entire life, I always wanted to be a part of the Sports Illustrated family. I’ve always been especially moved by SI Swim, what it stands for, and all of the amazing women that are part of it. My brand aligns perfectly with SI Swim as our entire motive is to inspire females to feel the best version of themselves. I first applied in 2017: Never give up!”

What does it mean to you to be picked as a Rookie?

“I am absolutely honored. I am OVER THE MOON and words can’t express this feeling!! It’s truly a life-changing moment. It’s what you dream of, and work hard for, for YEARS. This represents so much more than photos in a magazine. I can’t wait to build a community with SI Swim. This is just the beginning! Also, it’s such a special moment to share with my friend, Christen. I am so very thankful and grateful.”

Instagram: @katieaustin

And here’s all 13 finalists:

Amanda Kay

Chelsea Heath

Summer Wilson

Taylor Sharpe

Kristen Louelle

Allie Ayers

Alex Aust

Gabrielle Haikas

Ally Courtnall

Saje Nicole

Natalie Gage