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SI Swim Search: Alex Aust

Name: Alex Aust
Hometown: Sterling, Va.
Occupation: Professional Lacrosse Player, Fitness Instructor and Entrepreneur

What inspired you to try out for SI Swim Search?

I finally got out of my own way. I've always dreamed of being a part of SI Swimsuit, but never thought I could or would ever be considered in the same realm as the women who have been a part of this iconic brand. I started thinking about what I preach to my young athletes or to women all over and it's finding strength in vulnerability and unlocking your confidence. How could I not go for my biggest, wildest dreams and not listen to my own advice? I stopped letting the fear of judgment or failure get in the way and decided to put myself out there. And it's been the best decision of my life, I have not looked back!

What would it mean to you to win Swim Search?

It would mean absolutely everything. Winning Swim Search would validate that all sides of what makes me a woman is worth celebrating. That athletes who are fierce, competitive, aggressive are beautiful! I truly believe that working hard, day in and day out, falling in love with the journey is what it's all about. Going through Swim Search I've grown so much as a woman, I've learned so much about myself, and it's broken me open in ways I did not know existed. If I actually achieved the goal of winning, well, that would be the best feeling in the world.

What has been the best part about being a part of the Swim Search community?

The genuine positivity and support from every single member!! I have been a part of so many tryouts in my life, fighting for a single spot on Team USA, and this has not felt like that for one second. Of course we all have the same goal of winning Swim Search, but we've fallen in love with each other along the way. Swim Search shows that when women cheer each other on and celebrate each other's successes, instead of tearing each other down, we are absolutely unstoppable.

What is your favorite SI Swimsuit memory?

I remember waiting at home for Sports Illustrated for Kids to come to our house. Athletes have been my role models my whole life and I loved seeing the 99ers grace the cover. It was not until I saw Tyra Banks on the cover in that incredible polka dot bikini in the magazine I waited for every single week that I saw a woman empowered in a completely different way than I was used to. I've always seen women confident on the field or court, but then I saw a beautiful, strong, stunning, confident woman in a bikini. My world was turned upside down. I wanted to have the strength and confidence that Tyra had when I was off the field, in all aspects of my life!

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Who is your role model?

My biggest role models my entire life have been my mom and dad. My mom left her village in Thailand at 10 years old to work in Bangkok and would send money home to provide for her family of nine. She has been fighting her entire life for her family and she always puts others first. My dad has supported each and every single one of us to achieve our dreams. He has sacrificed and worked day in and day out to let us have the opportunities necessary. Above all else, they are so honest with us and are the soundboard that everyone needs.

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What would you tell your younger self?

I would tell her that when you are confident, you are unstoppable, that you are the only you and that is your super power. To keep dreaming big, working hard, and putting yourself out there because there are great things to come. Trust that the universe has your back. And always have fun -- the second something isn't fun anymore it's okay to stop.

How are you preparing for the SI Swim Search photo shoot?

I am preparing by visualizing the highest version of myself and showing up as her every day. This has been a dream of mine and I want to feel my absolute best when I arrive at the shoot. This means a lot of movement, self reflection, fueling my body correctly, mindfulness and smililng (because I still cannot believe it!)

Who was the first person you told the good news to?

My fiance and family. They are my biggest support system and I could not wait to share the huge news. This is a win for all of us!!