What is the meaning behind the three stars?
I borrowed the three stars from Isshin Ryu Karate, of which I achieved my first degree black belt before I made the decision to concentrate entirely on my swimming. However, the lessons I learned from Isshin Ryu stayed with me in my international swimming career. In particular, the three stars are represented on the crest, also known as Megami. They symbolize many things, but the one that stuck to me was their representation of the “battles between mind, body, and soul”. We are all constantly faced with with these inner struggles of trying to maintain a balance or harmony between them. With this message, we positioned them in a tier formation to represent the three positions on the Olympic podium: gold, silver, and bronze.
Why did I choose the name “Astra”?
Astra is Latin for “Star” and comes from the phrase “Ad astra per aspera”. This phrase, when translated, means “To the stars, through hardships”, and this has always been particularly important in my life, because despite being diagnosed with an auditory processing disorder and failing swimming lessons (twice), I still had that crazy dream of one day swimming in the Olympics. And despite everyone who told me my dreams were too big, or felt compelled to point out my short comings or lack of “talent”, I worked so hard to develop myself into one of the most consistent sprint swimmers in the entire world, and got to stand on every single international podium I set out to stand on.
Why did I decide to create an apparel line?
I have two answers for this question. First, being fit is a 24/7 commitment. Unfortunately, while I was training or competing, my clothing wasn’t able to be with me 24/7. I had so much team apparel with me on trips, that I was left with very little room for anything that could be worn away from the pool or training facility. So I began to imagine a clothing line that could meet the performance requirements for fitness enthusiasts while being fashionable enough to wear throughout their day.
Second, I needed a vessel to carry the message of my three stars. I couldn’t just keep everything that inspired me all bottled up inside and not share it with the world. I want this apparel line to inspire everyone who wears it, to push beyond their limits and to never give up on their dreams. And while doing this, we will give back to the athletic community by creating an ambassador program where we will be able to directly fund potential future Olympians.