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Nina Agdal, Lilly Aldridge and Chrissy Teigen grace cover of 2014 S.I. Swimsuit Issue (photo/video)

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Sadly for ardent supporters of all things Kate Upton, the busty supermodel was unable to make it three consecutive years of gracing the cover of the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue. Don’t worry, Kate does make an appearance in the issue … in space (space space space space)…)

But aficionados of the annual issue will find little reason to complain as a trio of gorgeous models takes her place.

Nina Agdal, Lilly Aldridge and Chrissy Teigen have landed on the cover of the 2014 version of the Swimsuit Issue. This year’s edition marks the 50th anniversary of the cultural institution and is dubbed on the cover as featuring “the Past, the Present, the Future.”

The trio’s appearance is the first time three models have been featured on the cover since Elle McPherson, Rachel Hunter and Kathy Ireland graced the 1994 cover.

“We really, honestly liked each other,” said Teigen, according to SI.com. “Of course you are going to hear that from anybody who does a group shot, but this time it’s true. The connection was natural and the mood was fun.”

Teigen discussed the shoot with photographer James Macari on the Cook Islands last October.

“It’s been many years that I’ve been doing this now and this was the first shoot where I was like, ‘This may actually have cover potential. We had this perfect water, perfect time of day, perfect light, perfect look, perfect suits, perfect everything. And with James Macari shooting, I just sensed it was going to turn out right.’”

Lilly Aldridge becomes the first Swimsuit Issue rookie since Heidi Klum in 1998 to grace a cover in her inaugural appearance. Lilly discussed

“We had been on the island for a few days by that point and had had so much fun together. That day we went to a smaller island where the light was beautiful, and we each took turns posing in the middle,” said Lily.

It all sounded so joyous and idyllic. I was hungry for a little staged snark.

OK, so, which of you would you say really got the cover?

[Laughter]

Lily: “All of us!”

Chrissy: “If I were to pick . . . I would have to say our butts won it.”

Indeed. And well put. But in the end — no pun intended — everyone wins with that cover.

Video of the announcement, filmed at the Time-Warner Life Building on Thursday afternoon (sadly, Nina Agdal was not present — she was on an out-of-town shoot, but was there via video conferencing), when the girls were informed that they were the 2014 cover girls. They were shocked, to put it mildly.

Good stuff. Congratulations to all three lovely young women. A televised unveiling will air Thursday night on “Jimmy Kimmel Live” at 11:35 ET on ABC.

[Swim Daily]